The world’s largest bat, the Malayan Flying Fox, has a wingspan larger than an adult’s outstretched hands
The Malayan Flying Fox is the largest bat in the world, with a body length of about 20-25 centimeters and a weight of approximately 600-1100 grams. Its wingspan can reach up to 150 centimeters when fully extended, which is larger than an adult’s outstretched hands. The Malayan Flying Fox mainly feeds on the fruit of fig trees, rambutan trees, and langsat trees, and does not drink blood.
Bats are the only mammals in the world capable of flight, but some bat species have rather unpleasant habits, such as drinking blood, which can make people afraid of them. However, the Malayan Flying Fox is not a blood-drinking bat, and mainly feeds on fruit. When foraging, the Malayan Flying Fox prefers to pick fruit from the edges of flying fox, rambutan, langsat, or fig trees. Unfortunately, this bat is also easy to hunt, as people can easily ambush them near fruit trees.
Local people in Malaysia and some other Southeast Asian countries enjoy hunting these bats for food, as they believe that the Malayan Flying Fox has certain medicinal properties. As a result, thousands of Malayan Flying Foxes are legally hunted each year, and the number of illegally hunted bats is unknown. Scientists predict that this largest bat species may become extinct within six years.
Appearance-wise, the Malayan Flying Fox has a wingspan of up to 1.83 meters, but its body is quite small, only around 20-25 centimeters in size. The bat has large eyes, a pair of sharp teeth, and pointed ears, making it look like a vampire in the dim light of the night. However, it mainly feeds on fruit and nectar, and would have few natural predators if it did drink blood. The Malayan Flying Fox prefers to live in groups, but is not very agile or strong, and usually several individuals or even thousands of individuals roost together, flying out to forage collectively after sunset.