Fruit Bats
Bats are the only endemic mammals found in the Mascarenes. There used to be three fruit bat species on the islands: one is now extinct, leaving one species on Mauritius (pteropus niger) and one on rodrigues (P.rodricensis).

Rodrigues fruit bat (Pteropus rodricensis)
This species was also once found in Mauritius, but is now restricted to Rodrigues. Often called the golden bat, this is a very attractive animal, with thick, dark brown or chestnut-coloured fur and a golden-brown head, neck and shoulders. Being nocturnal, the bats set out at dusk to find fruit trees where they feed for several hours before returning to their roosting place. Fruit bats play an important an important role in seed dispersal and the pollination of fruiting trees.

In the 1970's the population declined to to 70 – 100 individuals and it was described as the rarest bat in the world. However, according to the recent bat surveys conducted by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation in Rodrigues, the bat population has now grown to over 9000 largely due to increased forest cover. Unfortunately, bats remain threatened by cyclones, one of which severely affected the population in 2003.

In our large and impressive walk-in eclosure, you can come face to face with this beautiful and rare bat. The bats are in the temporary care of the reserve, on behalf of the local authority, as part of a conservation programme.

Conservation status: critically endangered
Diet: fruit
Social animals: with females roosting together in large colonies, and males roosting alone
Endemic to Rodrigues

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