Welcome to our first blog post about a mammal (other than people, of course)! There are currently two mammal species housed at the California Academy of Sciences- northern tree shrews, Tupaia belangeri , in the Extreme Mammals exhibit, and our resident bat species, the Lesser Dog-Faced Fruit Bats Cynopterus brachyotis.
Upon entering the Rainforest here at the Academy, there are a series of cave exhibits located immediately on your left side. These are part of the Borneo level. Many visitors are so excited to see the birds and the butterflies of the rainforest they miss these unique and exciting Borneo exhibits. In the first and largest cave exhibit are housed ten female bats.
These bats are banded on their left forearm, allowing the staff to keep track of them as individuals. We keep the bats on a reverse photoperiod so they are active while you are visiting. Some of the bats can be seen hanging from their small feet either along the ceiling or on the branches. Their feet are normally held closed so the bat has to physically open the foot to release their hold. This allows them to rest while hanging upside down.
The bats can also seen flying around or feeding from the fruit kabobs hanging around the exhibit. They are a small species weighing only 28-38 grams. In the wild they are found in rain forests, feeding on fruit, nectar and pollen. These bats are well adapted for vision, as they use sight to locate food. In this photo you can see the bat named “Heather” and her large, well-developed eyes.
When the lights are bright at nighttime, they roost together in groups of 3 to 5.
Look for a future bat post where we will share with you where our bats came from and their contribution to studies of mammal physiology and flight.