Rousettus species form the largest colonies of any fruit bats (9), with those of the Egyptian fruit bat often numbering up to several thousand individuals, or even up to 50,000 in some cases (1) (2) (3). The bats crowd close together in the roost, chattering noisily, and fights often break out (2) (3) (4) (5). Rousettus species have excellent vision and smell, and, uniquely among fruit bats, also use a rudimentary form of echolocation, producing tongue clicks which are audible to humans (2) (3) (6) (9). The Egyptian fruit bat feeds on a variety of soft fruits, as well as flowers, pollen and some leaves (1) (2) (6) (7) (10). Fruit can be temporarily stored in cheek pouches (4), or taken to nearby trees to consume (8), and, like other fruit bats, the Egyptian fruit bat is likely to be an important plant pollinator and seed disperser (3) (9).
The Egyptian fruit bat typically has two breeding cycles each year, although most females breed in only one, the timing depending on the location (2) (3) (6). During the breeding season, the females form nursery colonies with the young, while males tend to form separate groups (2) (4). The female Egyptian fruit bat gives birth to a single young, or occasionally twins, after a gestation period of around four months (2) (3) (6), the young bat being born with folded ears and closed eyes, and clinging to the female for the first few weeks. The eyes open and ears erect at about ten days, and after the first six weeks the infant is left at the roost while the female forages, taking its first flight when about 63 to 70 days old (2) (3) (4). The male Egyptian fruit bat usually reaches sexual maturity at 14 to 18 months, and the female at 15 to 16 months, although some females start to breed from 7 to 8 months (3) (6). Lifespan in captivity may be up to 25 years (2).