Have you ever heard of a Flying Fox? a dog with wings? Well, here in Mozambique Island we have found a natural spectacle!
These animals in their adult age measure between 24 to 27 cm without counting the wings, which are about 15 cm more. Their body weight is approximately 400–600 gr. They are tropical and some countries have hunted them to near extinction because they are a delicacy and source of protein. They are also victims of the deforestation of their habitat.
The name of Flying Fox (Pteropus voeltzkowi) is due to their facial features. This animal is actually a giant bat that feeds on fruit, breadfruit trees, leaves and flowers. Their fur is red–brown color and it is said that they are not guided by Echolocation which is used in other bats, guided by his sensitive ears. On the other hand, these flying foxes use their vision to locate the fruit.
Here on the island of Mozambique, each evening at 6:00 pm, we see the sky fill with these creatures that fly in masses. They are big as the size of an medium size cat, they have black long wings; almost like a Crow.
At the beginning we thought that they were birds returning to nests, but we realized very soon that it was another thing. Detailing its wings in the distance, they had the exact form of those from a bat!. But how can it be? so big? We must verify this in person.
Today Ishmael has led us to the place where they live. Is the backyard of a Hindu Temple. There are tall trees with leafy branches. Arriving at the place we smell something in the atmosphere, it is the smell that these flying foxes leave. Also some intense noise, coming from hundreds of these creatures is heard. It is like a squeal, as if they were talking in the middle of a very lively party.
Closer, a pack of dogs hazel color welcomes us enthusiastically. They behave so familiar as if they are accustomed to good people unexpected visits. Ishmael tells us to look to the sky and then, the show begins!
There are hundreds of flying foxes hanging of the trees, many others awaken to go in search of fruit. The infant ones play to push or scratch each other. Hundreds are already flying in the sky.
The guys responsible for the temple tell us that many times the young ones fall to the ground, and they help them grow until they can return to the tree. They feed them with fruit and tell us that they are very intelligent and cute looking creatures. His pack of dogs do not hurt them!.
So we dedicate this little post to this species, which is in level of “vulnerable” in the red list of endangered species. Here in Mozambique, these flying foxes can be found at some points and apparently are respected. However, we invite all our readers to be aware and support the preservation of this tropical animal species which helps to spread larger seeds, and assist in the reproduction and survival of several plants, useful and necessary for all: human and animals.