Skip to content

Meet the Superheroes

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s FRUIT BATman! WHAT? You’ve never heard of FRUIT BATman, the superhero who saves people by saving the environment? So who is the megabat behind the mask…? It’s Pteropus poliocephalus, the flying fox!

Mock up example: Flyingfoxes-Illustrationmockups-Topic1 superpowers
Flying fox superpowers

These superheroes


Flying foxes are also called fruit bats because a lot of their food is fruit. They are Australia’s biggest bat which is why they are called megabats (mega = big). Our really small bats are called microbats (micro = small).

Flying foxes are mammals, like us, meaning they give birth to live babies and feed them milk. By day they hang upside down in trees, but at night they become the superheroes of the forests. Let’s get to know these superheroes better and look at their superpowers.

 

RBGSYD

There are 4 different kinds of flying foxes in Australia:

  • Black Flying Fox
  • Grey-headed Flying Fox
  • Spectacled Flying Fox
  • Little Red Flying Fox
Flying foxes live in big groups called colonies. Centennial Park is home to Sydney’s biggest colony. It is the secret Sydney headquarters for these superheroes during the day.
There are 2 kinds of flying fox living together at Centennial Parklands.
 
The Grey-headed Flying Fox
RBGSYD
  • Dark grey fur, with orangey-red fur around the neck, and light grey head.
  • Their wings are about 1 metre from tip to tip.
  • Has leg fur all the way to the ankle.
DPIE
They can be found in forests, woodlands, mangroves and gardens
  • They eat fruit from many different Australian plants. They really like figs. They will also eat fruit from introduced plants.
  • They feed on the sweet nectar and pollen from the flowers of Australian trees, particularly gum trees.
  • At night they can fly up to 50 kilometres to find food.
Photo credit: Sarah Thorpe
 
The Black Flying Fox
  • Short black fur, sometimes with reddish-brown fur around the neck.
  • Belly fur sometimes has grey flecks.
  • The bottom half of their legs has no fur.
  • Their wings can be up to 1 metre from tip to tip.
Photo credit: Ken Jones, 2014
  • They live in rainforests, forests, woodlands and mangroves.
  • They eat fruit from lots of different Australian plants as well as introduced plants.
  • They also feed on the sweet nectar and pollen from the flowers of Australian trees.
  • They may fly over 50 kilometres to find food.
Photo credit: Nick Baker

Life Cycle of Flying Foxes

Source: RBGSYD
Did you know a baby flying fox is called a pup?
  • The mother gives birth upside down and uses her body and wings as a net in case the pup falls.
  • The pup is fed milk from its mother.
  • The pup holds on to its mother with its teeth and claws while she flies and looks for food.
  • After 1 month the pup is getting too heavy to be carried. It stays at home in a kind of bat preschool while its mother goes off to find food.
  • When they are 6 months old, they can fly with their mother and learn how to find food.
Activities
Colour in and label the picture of a Grey-headed Flying fox. Make sure you get the colours right! Design a superhero logo for your flying fox

Write your own trivia quiz about flying foxes. Use the information on this page to write 3 questions with the correct answers. Put all your questions together as a class, get into teams and battle it out to see which groups are Flying Fox Freaks!
 
Go flying fox spotting. Can you see any bats flying about near your house as it starts to get dark? Sit in your backyard and see if you can see any. Most birds are going to bed when it gets dark so if you see dark shapes flying quietly, they are probably bats!
 

1 Next>