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Negative Effects Humans Have On Flying Foxes

772 words - 4 pages

Bats make up one quarter of all mammals, and belong to the order Chiroptera, which -means “hand winged”. They can be divided into two suborders: Megachiroptera (megabats) and Microchiroptera, (microbats). The genus Pteropus belong to the suborder Megachrioptera. This suborder consists of the world’s largest bats, commonly referred to as flying foxes or fruit bats. Unlike microbats, megabats do not use echolocation. Instead, they rely on very acute senses of sight and smell. They may weigh up to one kilogram, and wingspans can reach one meter. There are about 60 species that make up Pteropus. Flying foxes have a very slow reproductive rate, and do not reach sexual maturity until two or three ...view middle of the document...

Although individual bats and species composition does fluctuate, traditional camp sites may be used for decades: a number of camp sites described in the 1930’s are still occupied today (Tidemann and Nelson, 2011). Annual camps are used by flying foxes at the same time every year, while irregular camps may be used in conjuncture with a nearby food source. New camp sites are often founded following a severe disturbance (Fujita and Tuttle, 2005).
Although exotic fruits are generally not preferred, the lack of preferred food sources forces flying foxes into orchards and backyard fruit trees, where they face dangers such as shooters and loose netting. This lack of preferred food sources is caused by two main factors: the unreliability of flowering plants in forests, and the clearing of their already unreliable food sources by humans (Nakamoto et al, 2007). Rainforests and eucalypt forests have largely been cleared for agricultural land. Many people believe that flying fox populations are increasing because of the large number of sightings in gardens and fruit trees, when in fact they are only seen more in urban areas due to habitat destruction. These types of food sources are much more reliable, so they are now camping in areas occupied and overlapping with humans....

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