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On the Wild Side: Strange news from the World of Wildlife!

On the Fast Track

Eat a piece of fruit, and it takes a day or more to pass through your digestive system. The same process in the Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat takes about fifteen minutes.

In North America these bats occur only in the Florida Keys, where they roost in buildings mostly. Sometimes, though, a Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat will sleep outdoors by fashioning a tent out of a large leaf. The construction of the tent is simple: the bat bites into the midribs of a suitable leaf, and the leaf folds into a tent.

The Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat's diet consists primarily of figs, which fruit year-round in the western Keys. Once eaten, the figs pass rapidly through the bat's digestive system, so rapidly, in fact, that the bat's fecal matter smells like freshly picked figs.

Click here to learn more about these bats.