or for Flying Fox or Flughund (which means Flying Dog), but the name for the whole family is Megabat. Most of them are pretty big, but some species are just 6 cm long.
Unlike microbats (the small ones you probably have seen flitting around in the dark, depending on where you live) fruitbats don't use echolocation. they rely on their sense of smell and can see very well. They feed on fruits and flowers and in some regions, they are important for pollination and to spread seeds.
The fruit bat in the photo above is a straw coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum), they can reach a wingspan of up to 30 inches. They live in colonies of several 10.000 individuals, sometimes even up to one million and can carry pieces of fruit in their cheek pouches.
These guys are Gambian Epauletted Fruit Bat (Epomophorus gambianus) - the males have white tufts of hair on their shoulders, hence the name. They live in big colonies, too, and the colonies are organized into smaller family groups and groups of juveniles and adults without a mate.
Fotos taken at the Tierpark Berlin.
A great picture book about fruit bats is Stellaluna by Jannell Cannon, which I really recommend if you have kids who like animals.
Find out what else F stands for with ABC Wednesday