Flying dogs in Thailand

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Have you ever seen a dog fly? Enough dogs here in Thailand and apart from that dog, who gets kicked by a Thai owner and flies out the door, you don't see those animals floating in the air with wings on their bodies.

Still, flying dogs do exist in Thailand, but you understand that they are not real dogs. It is a large species of bat with a wingspan between 24 and 180 cm. The head of a flying dog does indeed resemble the head of a dog, their ears are more pointed and they have larger eyes than other bats.

Joop Oosterling already took us after a visit to his tree nursery to a village nearby, where many trees, probably thousands of flying dogs, camped in the numerous trees in a temple complex. I always thought that bats lived in dark caves, but this species just sleeps in the foliage of these trees during the day. In the event of too much noise or a whistle, the colony startles and flies away like a black cloud to return to their resting place a little later.

The flying dogs are not aggressive or anything and live on fruit. The mango and banana plantations often suffer from those animals, but I don't know if that is also the case with this large group. Of course the flying dogs have enemies such as tree snakes and lizards, but the biggest enemies are humans themselves, who mainly poison the flying dogs in fruit growing areas. Fortunately, this colony, safe under the care of the monks, does not seem to be bothered by it.

There is more to tell about the flying dogs – which are called "flying foxes" in English – but you can read more yourself and watch videos of this interesting animal group on Wikipedia.


  1. Ferdinand Rijkschroeff says out

    These animals also occur in Indonesia and on Java they are called KALONGS
    and on BALI MALONGS. They come for ripe fruits that sometimes fall to the ground.
    In my youth I picked up these fruits on the ground.
    Sometimes these kalongs are caught to show to tourists.

    VA: F (1.9.22_1171)

  2. Elly says out

    I have seen them several times at Wat Pho Bang Khla in Bang Khla. Visited from Chachoengsao. This temple is located 17 km from the city along the highway no.304 (Chachoengsao-Kabin route) and another 6 km along the highway 3121.
    A great sight especially if they are going to fly and the complex is also worth it. There is an old Viharn built between 1767-1772 that fell into disrepair and was renovated in 1942. Something was built over it so that the old Viharn has been preserved. There are also beautiful Buddha statues in the complex.

    VA: F (1.9.22_1171)

  3. Pieter says out

    The flying fox, bats pollinate the durian ..
    That is why the flower is also open for pollination at night.
    Many bats get entangled in nets that are laid over fruit trees to protect the harvest.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2018/feb/19/durian-flying-fox-bats-pollination-pollinators-deforestation-hunting-conservation

    VA: F (1.9.22_1171)

  4. Jan Teckenlenburg says out

    They are beautiful animals. It is a shame that the Thai people eat them again. In Nongkay they are just at the morning market. Costs per kg 80 thb.
    Jan

    VA: F (1.9.22_1171)

  5. Frank Kramer says out

    I understand that these bats are equally important for pollination of fruit-bearing trees as the bees. It may be known that the bees have recently been threatened in their survival. Only these bats, with their flights of up to 50 km per night, also take the seeds with them and shed them again, which also ensures the important distribution of tree species over considerable distances.

    By the way, where bird species fly with the equivalent of what our arms are in terms of bones, these bats only fly with their finger bones. and that sometimes with a wingspan of 1.80. Strong fingers.

    VA: F (1.9.22_1171)

  6. Sylvia says out

    We have a house in Phuket and sit in the evening on our terrace to enjoy the flying dogs that fly over every night.
    One day we decided to count them and there were more than 1000 of them.
    We do not want them to come into our garden, so there is no whole plant anymore, but it remains a great sight.
    And thanks for the nice pictures.
    Just work and we can enjoy it again.
    Sincerely
    Sylvia

    VA: F (1.9.22_1171)

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