Jamaican Leaf-Nosed Fruit Bat

(Artibeus jamaicensis)

Natural History


            The Jamaican Leaf-Nosed Fruit Bat is a Neotropical fruit bat commonly distributed throughout South America, Central America and all of (except the very smallest) Caribbean Islands. The bats get there name from the leaf like growth on there nose and from the fact that they were originally described on the island of Jamaica and from there diet of fruit.

            These bats are considered the largest of there family group with a wing span measuring up to 40 to 45 cm. Females are larger then males measuring on average 3.25 inches and weigh 1.52 ounces were males measure on average 3 inches and weigh 1.42 ounces. The nose leaf is an interesting flap that consists of skin, muscle, and cartilage that assists the bat during echolocation. The have medium length fur that is very thick and varies in color form light brown to very dark brown, with the under part being paler or greyish.

            The Jamaican Leaf-Nosed Fruit Bat forms colonies of 2-14 females their young and a single male. They quietly roots in moist open areas, and sometimes even modifies palm leaves by biting around the midrib so that the leaflets fold to make a tent. Birth is timed for fruit abundance and usually happens twice a year.

            In the wild these fruit bats feed mostly as there name would suggest on fruit both wild and cultivated fruit. Fruits include bananas, avocados, mangos, and figs, but they also eat pollen, nectar, and some insects. Due to there diet they may have some minor impact on cultivated fruit production, but are also important seed dispersers and pollinators of these same crops.


Wild Status: Common

Legalities: Illegal to keep in Alberta, Saskatchewan and possibly other provinces


In Captivity


            Although the Jamaican Leaf-Nosed Fruit Bat is a very interesting animal we feel that they are not suitable for a pet but are more for display or educational purposes.  This is mostly based on there housing requirement which need to be large to allow them to fly. They are also not the type of animal to take out and handle which also make them a poor choice for a pet. They are also very rare in Canada so even getting one is virtually impossible. They are social living in colonies in the wild so more then one should be kept. They are nocturnal although we have found ours happy to wake up for feeding regardless of the time. One thing I can say is that they are very interesting animals and we are just fascinated with them.

            As mentioned they require a large cage to live in that allows them to fly in. We currently are working on a nice size cage for them but for now they are being kept in a 6’H x 6’L x 2’W cage. They are good climber so we line the sides with plastic netting for them to climb on. We also furnished the cage with fake plants to simulate a somewhat tropical environment. For feeding we have also set up a dish on the floor and a hanging dish to simulate the natural behaviour of collect ripe fruit that has fallen from the tree and also getting them off of the tree.

            As for feeding we feed our trio a mixture of fruits including bananas, honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, watermelon, and pineapple. We also feed them some natural organic fruit baby food and honey along with some vitamin and mineral supplement.


Longevity: estimated at ten years

Our Bats           

       Ozzy is our male Jamaican Leaf-Nosed Fruit Bat. Yes, the name comes from the singer and yes I know he bit the head off of a bat but he is what comes to mind when I think about names for the bat. Ozzy loves his food and will even take food out of my hand. He is a great bat and he is also protective of his females in that if you get close to them he will come in-between you and them and squawk at you. We are unsure of his age, but we are hoping he is young and will produce some babies for us.   


         Sharon is our largest bat and named as I am sure everybody can figure out after Ozzy’s wife Sharon. Just like the real Ozzy who would be lost without Sharon we think our Ozzy would be the same. It is not uncommon to find the two sleeping close together and if you mess with Sharon, Ozzy is quick to protect her. Like with our male we are unsure of her age but hope that she is young and will produce some offspring for us. Sharon is shy and is quick to hide during feeding but when she is out she is fun to watch.


         Chatters is our other female bat and although her name doesn’t fallow the Osborn theme she is a welcome member. We have given her the name because she is always chattering. Like with the other female Chatters is loved and protected by the male. Again we are unsure of her age but we think she is younger then Sharon due to her smaller size. She is braver then Sharon but still quick to retreat if you get to close but at the same time she isn’t afraid to let you know that your getting to close and will squawk at you.



I was excited to find a new additon to my bat group with this baby being born at the end of December 2006. Yet another addition found at the end of January 2007 we are so excited to watch these guys grow up. Sorry, but they are not for sale nor will they be sold we are expanding our group.

Recent Forum Posts