The tropical rainforest, where trees flower and fruit all year round, is the perfect home for fruit bats and bats that live on the pollen and nectar of flowers.

Fruit Bats

Bats that eat fruit have a well-developed sense of smell that enables them to find a single ripe fruit among many unripe ones.

These bats use their teeth to crush fruit, then drink the juice and swallow the soft pulp. Pronounced palatal ridges and a muscular tongue help fruit-eating bats extract all the juice from the waste. They compress the fruit skins and any large pips into peanut-sized pellets and spit them out.

Flower Bats

Bats that feed on pollen and nectar are adapted to their specialized diet. They have long tongues tipped with soft, threadlike outgrowths that function like an absorbent paintbrush.

These bats have small, weak teeth, as they do not need to chew their food.

Flower bats are usually drawn to flowers that are drab, bloom at night and produce copious quantities of nectar and pollen.

Many of these flowers have rigid petals that the bats use as landing platforms.

All are large and strong enough for the bats to be able to insert their heads without fear of the flowers collapsing.

When sucking the nectar and eating the pollen, the bats use their hooklike thumbs to grasp the flowers.

Trees that depend on bats for pollination and seed dispersal have evolved scents that differ from the scents that other plants use to attract insects.

While insect-pollinated plants have sweet, heavy smells, bat-pollinated plants have musty smells. Some bat-pollinated plants have a smell similar to mammalian sweat.