Fruit Bat Forest
The Fruit Bat Forest is home to three bat species ,the Livingstone’s Fruit Bat, the Rodrigues Fruit Bat and Seba’s Bat.
Visitors can go in alongside them, and share their space. You can travel through the darkened forest with them as they go about their nightly business, deftly avoiding people as they fly.
The Livingstone’s Fruit Bats are one of the largest types of bat in the world with a wingspan of up to 1.3 m. They come from the Comoros Islands, in the Indian Ocean. Rodrigues Fruit Bats are also a large bat, with a wingspan of 75 cm.
They come from tiny Rodrigues Island, part of the country of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. This is the only place they are found in the wild, and, back in the 1970s, they had almost vanished, numbers dropping to around 70. Gerald Durrell, world famous pioneer of conservation breeding in zoos, acquired a small group to start a breeding programme.
In 1984 the first Rodrigues Fruit Bats arrived at Chester, where they have been breeding well ever since. Both of the larger species will usually be found in the trees, clambering around in search of fruit.
Seba’s Bats are found in the tropical forests of central and South America. They are a much smaller bat, no bigger than your thumb. Nimble and agile, they can always be found whizzing about down at head height, and especially like the darkened tunnel area.
At the moment, we have 3 Livingstones, 85 Rodrigues and 320 Seba’s Bats, making over 400 bats in total! And they’re not alone! Fruit Bat Forest is also home to some secretive African Pygmy Dormice, a group of Turkish Spiny Mice, some delightful Madagascan Giant Hissing Cockroaches and the amazing Mexican Blind Cave Fish.