Straw- Colored Fruit Bat

Eidolon helvum Order: Chiroptera Family:Pteropodidae Straw- colored fruit bat

Chiroptera is the family of bats.

Straw-colored Fruit Bat The Akron Zoo 053118


Natural History Information 

Range and Habitat 

  • The straw- colored fruit bat can be found throughout Africa in tropical forests, savannas, and any other area that contains many trees and enough food.
  • They most commonly roost in trees during the day but can also be found in caves and lofts.


  • Native habitat: 15 years
  • Under human care: up to 21 years  

Ecosystem Role 

  • Because they eat fruits and flowers, these bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers.

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

Diet Requirements

  • In their native habitat, these bats eat leaves, flowers, nectar, pollen, and fruit juices. They chew fruit into a pulp, swallowing the juices and spitting out the remaining fruit. They chew on bark to get water.
  • Akron Zoo: our bat diet is a mix of Mazuri softbill pellets, Zupreem canned primate diet, and fresh fruits and greens.

Weight Management

  • Akron Zoo: bats are weighed every other week.

Veterinary Concerns



  • Behavioral Relevant Information 
  • Environmental Enrichment  
    • Akron Zoo: Bats interact readily with a portable DVD player showing colorful images.
  • Behavioral Enrichment  
  • Schedule  
    • Akron Zoo: bats are enriched twice per week
    • Bat enrichment rotates through several categories including social or human interaction, rest, forage/ manipulate, explore/ investigate, sensory (including scent), self- directed behaviors (such as grooming) and novelty. Enrichment is selected based on natural behaviors and is goal based.
  • Other Enrichment Resources 


  • Behaviors Trained
    • Akron Zoo- bats are trained to station to a specific location in their home, to step up onto a perch or glove, and to be placed into a travel kennel.
  • Reinforcers used & schedule of reinforcement:
    • Akron Zoo- bat favorite reinforcers include apple, banana, melon, and grapes.
    • Bats are rewarded on a continuous schedule. While in their travel kennel, fruit is hung from the top for them to graze on during travel and the program.  

Colony or Breeding Management

Individual Identification

  • Akron Zoo: we have two education bats and they are easy to identify by sight. One does have colored bands on her wing for the keepers unfamiliar with them.

Programmatic Information

Messaging Themes 

Threats and Conservation Status 

  • Currently, this species of bat is abundant and they do not have any legal protections.
  • Threats facing this bat are deforestation and hunting for bush meat and medicinal use.
  • Preyed upon by snakes, birds of prey, and humans.

Interesting Natural History Information 

  • Straw- colored fruit bats are very social and roost in groups between 100 thousand to 10 million individuals! When food becomes limited, the colonies will move to where there are more feeding options.
  • Since they live in such large colonies and like to eat fruit, they can be harmful to crops. In some instances, this can outweigh the benefits of seed dispersal and pollination.  

Did you know… 

  • Using the flight mechanics of bats, a research project created a new spy device!

Handling & Presentation Tips 

Use Guidelines

  • Akron Zoo: bats can only be used on grounds.
  • Watch for overheating- make sure bats are not in direct sunlight.
  • If used outside, bats must remain in their travel kennel.

Public Contact and Interaction Guidelines 

  • Akron Zoo: when in a small, secure room with a controlled audience, bats have the option to come out of their kennel onto a glove or a stick perch for a better look from the guests.
  • They cannot be touched by visitors.

Transportation Tips 

  • Akron Zoo: kennel should be covered for privacy during transportation to and from program.

Crating Techniques 

  • Akron Zoo: bats are trained to step onto a glove or stick perch and be placed into a custom made plexiglass travel kennel.

Temperature Guidelines

  • Akron Zoo: bats are approved for outdoor program use or enrichment between 70-80ºF. If the temperature is cooler than 70ºF, bats should have a snuggle safe heat disk in their kennel as well.

Acquisition Information

Comments from the Rating System




Contributors and Citations

  • Akron Zoo