Flying Fox or Maa Wawula in Sinhala is the largest bat in
with about 1.2m wingspan. It is distributed throughout the island excluding higher
hills though it is a visitor to the higher hills during fruiting seasons. However W.W.A
Phillips noted that it appears to be absent, during the greater part of the
year, from the Hambantota district (Phillips, 1980). Flying fox is a nocturnal
mammal and has excellent night vision though it doesn't have echolocation like some other bats. During the day time it roosts communally in tall trees.
Such a colony - usually located close to human habitations- may comprises hundreds
or may be thousands of individuals. Flying fox exclusively feeds on soft pulp
and juice of flowers and fruits (Excluding all citrus fruits) after solids are
discarded having chewed the flesh. It covers immense distance in a night in foraging, ranging
from 2 to 20kms. Often before feeding, it is said that they visit a river or
lake to quench thirst, lapping up water as they glide over the surface
(Phillips, 1980). Even though it is treated as a pest it also an invaluable
pollinator of most fruit plants.