The recent birth of four baby bats within days of each other is further proof of the sterling work done at Benidorm's Terra Natura theme park for the preservation of endangered species.
The births bring the number of Flying Foxes (Pteropus lylei) bred in the park up to ten since 2007 when they were first introduced. The park's animal scientists believe that the batlets are all totally healthy and had completely normal births, after a 5 month gestation period, given their size and behaviour. All weighed 50 grammes and were 10 centimetres in length at birth and spend most of their time fast asleep, clinging to their mothers, waking only to feed.
Eventually they will grow to around 80 centimetres – so you wouldn't want more than about ten of them in your belfry – and feed on fruit, nectar, and flowers, making an important contribution to the reproductive cycle of their native forests as their droppings contain the seeds of these plants which then germinate after passing through the bat.
Interestingly, though an endangered species, the flying foxes, sometimes known as fruit bats, are so prevalent in certain parts of Asia that culls have to be organised and their meat is prized as a delicacy by local people.
16 April 2012 Stephen White.