Fruit bats, also known as Old World bats or flying foxes, are among the largest bats in the world. They differ from other species because they navigate with their vision rather than echolocation. Fruit bats get their name from their diet of fruit and nectar.
With a long nose, large eyes, and pointy ears, some fruit bat species resemble dogs or foxes. They have wide chests and range from two inches to over a foot long. These bats have coarse, tan to brownish-black fur, wide leathery wings, and tiny feet with strong, claw-tipped toes to grip tree limbs.
Fruit bats feed on nectar, fruit, and even flowers. They chew on fruit to get the sweet juice and then spit out any seeds, rind, or pulp. Larger fruit bats use their claws to climb and find hidden and hard-to-reach food.
Limited to subtropical and tropical climates, the fruit bat is not native to the U.S. However, the pests have a confirmed presence in Florida. Warming temperatures and habitat loss may force more of these mammals into southern states. For now, they are accidental invaders.
Entry into Homes or Yards
In general, fruit bats enter yards in search of edible plants. Once near homes, the pests may make their way indoors to roost, especially during mating season. Most bats can squeeze through any opening larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter to sneak inside attics.
Problems & Damage
Although they are beneficial to the environment, fruit bats can cause problems indoors. Their unsightly, foul-smelling guano is one of the more serious concerns. Inhaling harmful mold spores that grow in bat droppings may cause the disease histoplasmosis. These pests are also common carriers of the rabies virus.
Prevention & Exclusion
Because bats generally defecate near their roosts, guano can mark favorite trees or entry points into homes. Repairing holes in screens, sealing cracks, and fixing any loose roof shingles can prevent wildlife from entering buildings. However, be sure not to seal any bats or their young inside.
Trapping & Removal
It’s always best to avoid contact with wildlife due to the risk of injury or illness. Handling any live or dead bat is dangerous. In addition, many species are on the endangered species list, so trapping and other control methods could be illegal. The trained staff of Trutech can help with safe, humane fruit bat removal and exclusion.