National Geographic : 1986 Apr
Ever vigilant for predatorssuch as hawks and snakes, part of a colony of 150 Gambian epauleted bats roost in a tree (above) at Kaloka Veterinary Research Station on Kenya's Lake Victoria. Speedy takeoffs arefacilitated by hanging upside down. A Wahlberg's epauleted batfeeds on a mango (left). By licking its mother's mouth (right), a Gambianpup learns which fruits are acceptable as food. Mango farmers in Kenya, the author'sprincipalareaof study, have killed off flying foxes, mistaking them for crop destroyers. But mangoes and other commercialfruits must be picked for shipment several days before they are fully ripe, and Dr. Tuttle's studies show thatflying foxes avoid unripefruit. By eating only ripe, unmarketableproduce, they may help reducefungi and destructivefruit flies.