International Bat Appreciation Day is celebrated each year on April 17. The day was started by Bat Conservation International as a way to help raise awareness of the value of bats, both as pollinators and as consumers of insects.
Common Name: African Straw Colored Fruit Bat
Latin Name: Eidolon helvum
Location: Widespread throughout Africa and Madagascar
Conservation Status: Near Threatened
The straw colored fruit bat gets their name from the yellow, or straw colored, fur around their neck. Even though their bodies are small at around 5 to 9 inches long, their wingspan can reach up to three feet. Their wings are long and narrow, allowing them to fly long distances without expending too much energy by flapping a lot.
While these bats are currently common and widespread, deforestation and hunting are causing declines in population in some areas of their range. The species does live in some protected areas, including a large colony found in Kasanka National Park in Zambia. Every year from October to December, in the world’s largest mammal migration, over 10 million straw colored fruit bats congregate in this park.
⦁ They are the second largest fruit bat in Africa
⦁ They can eat up to twice their body weight a day in fruit
⦁ They fly in straight lines and at higher altitudes than other species of fruit bats
⦁ They play an important role in seed dispersal for the environmentally significant African teak tree