If you thought that you have to travel hundreds of kilometres to see the largest bat on mainland India, think again. In fact, it is found in Bangalore itself. The wingspan of this bat – the Indian Fruit Bat (also known as the Flying Fox) – measures a whopping 4 feet!
Indian Fruit Bats are social animals and in the habit of roosting in large colonies. A single roosting site may have a hundred or more individuals. If the site is particularly suitable, they may even exceed a thousand individuals. These bats often roost on large trees which have spreading branches and at some places, they choose bamboo clusters.
Trees in the heart of busy areas in cities and villages may also be used. In fact, there are some such roosts in Bangalore. There is also a large colony in the Ranganthittoo Bird Sanctuary near Mysore. Similar roosts can be seen at several places across Karnataka and many towns and cities in India.
In fact, the Kabini River Lodge at Kharapur has a colony of its own. There is also a colony near the River Tern Lodge, Bhadra. The next time you visit Kabini or Bhadra, make it a point to pay a visit to the bat colony. Spend some time watching them as they spend the day hanging upside down, indulging in their daily toilet, squabbling, or simply wrapping their body with their wings and sleeping. You will not be disappointed!