Last year the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Gainesville, Florida welcomed twelve bat pups, including the rare birth of twins by mother Variable Flying Fox "Charisma." This organization is dedicated to conserving "fruit and nectar" bats because these animals are vital to pollination and seed dispersal in many of the world's jungles. The evolutionary origins of bats are a subject of much debate but they are most certainly NOT flying rodents. Once thought to be more closely related to shrews and hedgehogs, recent genetic evidence suggests bats may be more closely related to carnivores like bears, dogs and cats.
A Large Flying Fox pup clings to a stuffed animal
Large Flying Fox pup and mom. Above photo credits: D. LeBlanc / Lubee Bat Conservancy
Rare Variable Flying Fox pup twins with mom. Photo credit: S. Mulder, Lubee Bat Conservancy
Lubee Bat Conservancy welcomed 12 new additions to our collection last year. 3.3 Variable Flying Fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) and 3.3 Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus) were born between June and October 2009. This marks the most successful birthing season at Lubee since 2005. The highlight came 16 July 2009, when 0.1 Variable Flying Fox “Charisma” gave birth to twins, one male one female. This is the first recorded birth of twin Variable Flying Foxes at Lubee. To ensure that no complications arose in raising the twins, the keeping staff administered calcium medication and supplemental feedings throughout the day to dam “Charisma”. Both twins have been raised successfully by the mother, and continue to grow and become independent throughout the colony.