African Bat Pictures

Epauletted fruit bat with baby

Bat pictures may get you thinking about vampires, but only a few bat species actually feed on blood. The bat image above shows the Epauletted fruit bat that eats, as its name suggests, only fruit.

I found this bat and its baby roosting in a tree at the Berg and Dal camp in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

They were wide awake and stared at me as I focussed on them with the camera. So the general impression that bats sleep during the day and are only awake at night doesn't seem to apply to these two.

At another camp called Skukuza, also in the Kruger Park, there is a colony of these bats roosting under a thatch roof that stands just outside the cafeteria and shop. There are masses of people there every day but it doesn't seem to bother them in the least.

Fruit bat colony in Skukuza

Where To Find Bats on Safari

Most of the bat species are nocturnal, which makes getting bat pictures difficult unless you know where they roost. It's very likely that the safari guide will know of a place to see them during the day, so ask him or her to go and show you.

Failing that, you need a good, strong torch or headlamp to be able to walk around the safari camp at night. Your chances of seeing them flying around chasing after insects are very good, or feeding on fruit in the trees.

You can also track them down using your sense of hearing, because many of them have a distinctive call just like birds. There is one in the Kruger Park that makes a squeaking noise like a manual pump inflating a bicycle tire, so you can locate the specific tree it's in and search for it with your spotlight.

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