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Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Updated: Nov 10, 2020


Livingstone’s Flying Fox is also known as Livingstone’s Fruit Bat. Find the original photograph here.



Population Estimate: Less than 1,300 Mature Individuals in the Wild


Brief Description

       The Livingstone’s Flying Fox or Livingstone’s Fruit Bat is a nocturnal giant species of bat endemic only to two islands in the entire world. Living in roosts on the top of the highest trees in the forest, the bats have a relatively narrow habitat. If the native trees in an area are removed, the bats will simply leave the area making it difficult to estimate populations. Livingstone’s Flying Fox is considered a keystone species to it’s forest habitat due to its role in seed dispersion. They pollinate many plants and disperse fruit tree seeds making them integral to their ecosystem.

        The bats are frugivorous, meaning they mostly feed on fruit. Fruit Bats have a keen sense of smell which they use to determine how ripe a fruit is. Livingstone’s Flying Fox mostly prefer figs due to their availability. Despite this, they may also feed on leaves or nectar if given the chance. They frequently live up to 30 years in captivity, although lifespan in the wild is generally only 10 years. Raptors and large snakes frequently prey on their young, but the only major predator to the species is humans. Humans have been known to kill them as a source of food but the major threat to the species is habitat loss. Deforestation of upland habitats has caused a significant decrease (estimated 83%) in Livingstone’s Flying Fox individuals over the last three generations. The Comoros’ rapid deforestation fueled by agriculture and growing human population has caused a 75% decrease in forest cover over all of the islands in just the last 20 years.

Written by — Joe Sweeney


Fun Facts

  1. Found only on the islands of Anjouan and Mohéli, Livingstone’s Flying Fox is found only in a combined range of less than 462.5km²

  2. There are no known subspecies!

  3. They are clumsy fliers, preferring to soar from tree to tree.


How You Can Help

Petition / Donation Links

Livingstone’s Flying Fox is found in only two captive breeding programs in the world despite being critically endangered in the wild. Below you can donate to the Jersey Zoo’s Adopt-a-Bat program to fund important programs that use pedigree analysis to prevent interbreeding and protect the species from going extinct. Additionally your money will be used for the day to day maintenance of the individual bats at the Zoo. Besides this, you can also raise money to protect the habitat of the bats by donating to Dahari Comoros’ project Sing4Comoros.


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