Facts about animals

Largest Bats in the World

German Portillo
By German Portillo. June 6, 2024
Largest Bats in the World

Bats are very diverse in terms of physical characteristics and behaviors. For example, some eat fruit, others famously eat blood. Size is a great differentiator in types of bat species. The largest bat in the world can be up to 5.6 ft long, while the smallest is under 6 inches. Although many people are scared of bats, they play vital roles in ecosystems around the world. They pollinate various plant species and control insect populations. At thedailyECO, we see some of the bats with the biggest appetite for this insects by sharing the 5 largest bats in the world. We also provide fun facts and photos of these biggest bat species.

You may also be interested in: Largest Eagles in the World
  1. Giant golden-crowned flying fox
  2. Large flying fox
  3. Black flying fox
  4. Lyle's Flying Fox
  5. Ghost bat

Giant golden-crowned flying fox

The giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) is a species of fruit bat endemic to the Philippines. Known as the largest bat in the world in terms of wingspan, this impressive winged mammal can reach a wingspan of up to 5.6 ft (1.7 m), making it one of the most majestic and striking creatures in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.

Its distinctive crown of golden hairs on its head is known as a diadem. It gives the world's biggest bat a regal and unique appearance among other bat species. Along with its large size, this makes it an iconic and fascinating species for scientists and nature lovers alike.

Regarding its diet, the Philippine diademed bat is mainly frugivorous. This means that it feeds mainly on ripe, juicy fruits that it finds in the dense tropical forests where it lives. Its wide flight range allows it to travel long distances in search of food, contributing to seed dispersal and the health of forest ecosystems in the process.

Also known as the golden-capped fruit bat, the world's largest bat prefers to inhabit the dense tropical and subtropical forests of the Philippines. There it can find an abundance of fruits and a safe haven to rest during the day. Although little is known about their behavior and breeding habits, these bats are believed to form large, social colonies. This allows them to protect each other and share information about the location of the best food resources.

You can learn about the other types of flying mammals with our related guide.

Largest Bats in the World - Giant golden-crowned flying fox

Large flying fox

Also known as the large fruit bat or the kalang, the large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus) is a species of fruit bat that lives in Southeast Asia, including countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. This majestic winged mammal stands out for its impressive wingspan, which can reach up to 5 ft (1.5 meters), making it one of the largest bats in the world.

Unlike vampire bats, the large fruit bat feeds exclusively on ripe, juicy fruits, playing a crucial role in seed dispersal and the regeneration of the tropical forests where it lives. This frugivorous diet leads it to live mainly in wooded areas, including tropical forests, mangroves and coastal areas with dense vegetation. Learn more about the different types of forests with our related guide.

These bats are highly social and congregate in numerous colonies, forming groups that can have thousands of individuals. During the day, they rest in tall trees or in protected areas. When night falls, they go in search of ripe fruits to feed on. Their agile flight and ability to travel long distances in search of food make them an important component of tropical ecosystems.

Despite its ecological importance, the large fruit bat faces a number of threats that have led to the decline of its populations in some areas. The loss and fragmentation of its habitat due to deforestation, poaching for human consumption and persecution as agricultural pests are some of the main concerns for the conservation of this species.

Largest Bats in the World - Large flying fox

Black flying fox

The black flying fox or black fruit bat (Pteropus alecto) is a species of fruit bat belonging to the family Pteropodidae. It has mostly black fur, although some parts of its body may have lighter tones, such as the shoulders and upper chest. Its wings are broad and membranous, being specially adapted for long-distance flight.

It is one of the biggest bat species in the world. Adult individuals can have a wingspan that exceeds five feet (one and a half meters), although on average this wingspan is usually between 4 and 5 ft (1.2 and 1.5 m). Its body length, not including wings, varies between 9.9 and 12" (24 and 30 cm). Males are usually slightly larger than females and weigh between 1.3 and 2.2 lb (600 g and 1 kg).

This species is mainly found in tropical and subtropical regions of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It prefers rainforests, mangroves and other areas with abundant vegetation where there is easy access to fruits and flowers. They can also be found in urban areas, especially in parks and gardens with fruit trees.

Largest Bats in the World - Black flying fox

Lyle's Flying Fox

Lyle's flying fox (Pteropus lylei) is another species of fruit bat within the family Pteropodidae. Like other members of its family, it is known for its large size and fruit-based diet. It is characterized by its dark brown or blackish fur, with lighter tones on the head and neck. Its face is relatively long and its snout is narrow, similar to that of a fox. This provides its common name.

Their wingspan can reach up to 4 ft (1.2 meters) while their body length is usually between 7.9 and 9.9" (20 and 25 cm). Males and females are similar in size, although males may be slightly heavier. The weight of these bats varies between 0.9 and 1.3 kg (400 and 600 g).

This species is mainly found in Southeast Asia, including countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It prefers humid forests, fruit plantations and areas near water sources. It can also adapt to urban environments, where it takes refuge in large trees and parks.

Largest Bats in the World - Lyle's Flying Fox

Ghost bat

The ghost bat (Macroderma gigas) is a unique bat species within the family Megadermatidae. It has short, dense fur that varies in color from light gray to white. This gives it a pale, ghostly appearance, the reason for its common name.

The ghost bat is one of the largest bats in Australia. Its wingspan can reach up to 23.6 " (60 cm) and its body length varies between 3.9 and 5.5" (10 and 14 cm). Males and females are similar in size, although males tend to be slightly heavier. Its weight generally ranges between 0.3 and 0.4 lb (120 and 170 g). This species is found in northern Australia where it inhabits a variety of environments, including dry forests, tropical forests and rocky areas.

Now you know what are the biggest bats in the world, you may want to discover more massive flying animals with our guide to the largest eagles in the world.

Largest Bats in the World - Ghost bat

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Largest Bats in the World