Flying foxes  green planet
Flying foxes are the largest Megabat species in the world, and are capable of sustained flight Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Green Planet, the tropical rainforest set amid shiny skyscrapers in Dubai, is set to welcome its newest residents - flying foxes. Home to over 3,000 plants and animals across four indoor rainforest levels, the venue is all set to host visitors.

Highly social with tawny fur that glistens in the sun, flying foxes are one of the biggest bat species in the world capable of sustained flight. Calling it their new home, living alongside the lemurs, sloths, and parrots, these new residents will be seen flying freely across the enclosed biodome. Green enthusiasts will get to engage and get up close with these fascinating mammals. They will be able to click pictures with them and learn more about these super social folks commonly known as Malaysian flying foxes.

These Megabats play an important role in keeping native forests healthy by dispersing seeds and pollinating flowering plants, with a wingspan of 1.8m or more. The wingspan of the flying foxes arriving at The Green Planet will be up to 1m and weigh up to 1kg.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently evaluated their species as nearly threatened. With a body length of 27-38cms, they have an average life span of 15 years in the wild. However, under human care, they can live up to 30 years. The Green Planet’s conservation efforts will form part of crucial global work to protect the species.

The latest addition will enrich the experience, along with the six unique zones featuring sloths, piranhas, tropical birds and reptiles.

Fun 'Flying Fox' Facts:

• Flying fox species vary in body weight, ranging from 0.6-1.1kg with males are usually larger than females.

• They find food with their keen sense of smell and navigate by using their excellent eyesight.

• They have long, sharp curved claws which allow them to hang upside-down on the trees without using any energy.

• These social mammals can roost in the thousands, and give birth to one offspring at a time, with twins being a great rarity. They feed in groups and may fly up to 50km to reach their feeding spot.

• These fascinating creatures who originate from South and Southeast Asia, Australia, East Africa and some islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans.