Hipposideros fulvusfulvus roundleaf bat

Geographic Range

The fulvus roundleaf bat, Hipposideros fulvus, is found in much of southern Asia from Afghanistan east to Thailand, on the islands of Taiwan and Sri Lanka, and throughout most of India. The subspecies H. fulvus pallidus is found in the more northern parts of the range in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and northern India, while the subspecies H. fulvus fulvus is found in the more southeastern areas. (Bhupathy, 1987; Hill, et al., 1986; Srinivasulu and Molur, 2008)


The habitat preferences of fulvus roundleaf bats are relatively broad, including dry plains, thorn scrub, and thick tropical forests. Hipposideros fulvus is found at a wide range of elevations. These bats use porcupine and python burrows, caves, or abandoned buildings for their diurnal roosts. Optimal roosting sites are cool and damp, usually with flowing water nearby. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Bhupathy, 1987; Das, 2003; Nowak, 1994; Saikia, et al., 2006; Srinivasulu and Molur, 2008)

  • Other Habitat Features
  • caves
  • Range elevation
    0 to 2600 m
    0.00 to 8530.18 ft

Physical Description

Hipposideros fulvus is a small bat weighing between eight and ten grams. The ears are between 20 and 23 millimeters long, rounded, and larger than those of the bat’s close relatives. The average body length is 43 millimeters and tail length is between 25 and 29 millimeters. Average wingspan for the species is 130 millimeters. There appears to be no sexual dimorphism in this species. Fulvus roundleaf bats have square noseleaves. The dorsal fur can be reddish brown, dull yellow, dull brown, light gray or golden orange and the ventral fur ranges from creamy white to pale gray. Members of H. f. pallidus tend to be on the paler end of the spectrum, and the members of H. f. fulvus are darker in color. (Badwaik, 1989; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Bhupathy, 1987; Das, 2003; Hill, et al., 1986; Madhavan, et al., 1978; Saikia, et al., 2006)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    8 to 10 g
    0.28 to 0.35 oz
  • Average length
    43 mm
    1.69 in
  • Average wingspan
    130 mm
    5.12 in


Fulvus roundleaf bats occur in colonies ranging from 10 to 100 individuals. Females make up slightly more than half of the group. Individuals roost without touching, with the exception of females with dependent offspring. It has not been reported if either sex transfers to a different colony before attaining sexual maturity. Hipposideros fulvus breeds every year in November, but it is not known how mate selection occurs. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Madhavan, et al., 1978; Nowak, 1994)

Mating occurs among Hipposideros fulvus every year in mid-November. The gestation period is 150 to 160 days and results in the birth of one young in late April to early May. Twins do occur, but only rarely. The offspring are born naked and with closed eyes at a mass of approximately 2 grams. Young are nursed for approximately three months, reach adult size between seven and eight months, and attain sexual maturity at 18 to 19 months. Fulvus roundleaf bats first breed in the second year after their birth, once they have reached sexual maturity. (Badwaik, 1989; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Madhavan, et al., 1978; Nowak, 1994)

  • Breeding interval
    Fulvus roundleaf bats breed yearly.
  • Breeding season
    Mating occurs in mid-November.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 (low)
  • Range gestation period
    150 to 160 days
  • Average weaning age
    3 months
  • Average time to independence
    3 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    18 to 19 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    18 to 19 months

Mother fulvus roundleaf bats carry their young continuously for the first 20 to 22 days after birth. While nursing, the young faces the same direction as the mother, but at other times the young clings with its head near its mother’s tail and latches on with its feet to her fur. After the young leave their mothers, all lactating females in the colony suckle the infants regardless of relatedness. This continues until lactation ceases in late July. Juveniles reach mobile independence after 20 to 22 days, and feeding independence by three months of age. Male fulvus roundleaf bats have not been seen to provide any care to the young. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Nowak, 1994)

  • Parental Investment
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female


Little is known about the expected lifespan of Hipposideros fulvus. The oldest wild individual captured was a twelve-year-old female. Fulvus roundleaf bats do not survive in captivity for very long. (Madhavan, et al., 1978; Nowak, 1994)

  • Range lifespan
    Status: wild
    12 (high) years


Hipposideros fulvus is a nocturnal species that lives in colonies of 10 to 100 individuals. During the day, fulvus roundleaf bats roost with the members of their colony, but individuals never touch their neighbors. These bats hunt at night in groups of four or five. They usually fly close to the ground with a slow, fluttery flight pattern. Individuals have been observed to return to the roosting site to consume their prey. They are less active during the winter. (Advani and Sinha, 1980; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Nowak, 1994)

Home Range

Exact territory size for H. fulvus is unknown, but it has been observed that an individual rarely travels far from its roosting site while hunting. (Bates and Harrison, 1997)

Communication and Perception

There is little documentation regarding the communication of Hipposideros fulvus. It has been recorded that individuals rarely make audible sounds. Fulvus roundleaf bats use echolocation to perceive their environment and to hunt for food at night. (Madhavan, et al., 1978)

Food Habits

Fulvus roundleaf bats are insectivorous and eat such prey as beetles, cockroaches, winged termites, ants of the order Hymenoptera, and insects of the order Diptera. They hunt at night and locate their prey through echolocation. (Advani and Sinha, 1980; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Wason, 1978)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects


Common predators of most Asian bats are owls (Strigiformes), hawks (Falconiformes), snakes (Serpentes), weasels (Mustela), and foxes (Vulpes), though bats comprise only a small part of their diet. Bats are relatively good at avoiding terrestrial predators because they fly, but if caught on the ground they become quite vulnerable. Humans in Asia hunt Hipposideros fulvus and other bats for food and medicinal purposes. (Nowak, 1994; Tuladhar-Douglas, 2008)

Ecosystem Roles

Hipposideros fulvus acts as a predator on many types of insects. The guano of H. fulvus likely supplies important nutrients to the ecosystems in which it is found. This hasn’t been recorded, but it seems likely that fulvus roundleaf bats are hosts for parasitic insects such as fleas and ticks. (Advani and Sinha, 1980; Bates and Harrison, 1997; Wason, 1978)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Hipposideros fulvus and other small Asian bats have been used historically by populations in India and Nepal for food and traditional medicine. The medicine is called “bat oil” and is used as eardrops, treatment for baldness, and to combat paralysis. As insectivores, fulvus roundleaf bats positively impact humans by reducing pest insect populations. (Tuladhar-Douglas, 2008)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Hipposideros fulvus and other bat species are often vectors for passing diseases to humans when they come into contact with one another. Viruses can be transmitted to humans through handling and consumption of bat flesh and contact with bat feces. (Tuladhar-Douglas, 2008)

Conservation Status

The IUCN lists Hipposideros fulvus as a species of Least Concern because it appears to have a wide distribution, a large and stable population size, and to occur in protected areas. The species was assessed in 2008. H. fulvus does face small-scale threats from habitat loss due to mining and cave sealing. CITES and the US Endangered Species Act do not list H. fulvus. (Srinivasulu and Molur, 2008)

Other Comments

Hipposideros fulvus is known by many common names including fulvus roundleaf bat, fulvus leaf-nosed bat, and bicolored leaf-nosed bat. It is often confused with Hipposideros pomona, but can be distinguished by its longer ears. Populations of H. fulvus have more female individuals than males, but it is unclear at this time why this unequal gender ratio occurs. (Bates and Harrison, 1997; Bhupathy, 1987; Hill, et al., 1986; Madhavan, et al., 1978; Saikia, et al., 2006)


Ashley Pheil (author), University of Oregon, Stephen Frost (editor, instructor), University of Oregon, Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.



uses sound to communicate


young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat

causes disease in humans

an animal which directly causes disease in humans. For example, diseases caused by infection of filarial nematodes (elephantiasis and river blindness).


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.

cooperative breeder

helpers provide assistance in raising young that are not their own


a substance used for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease


The process by which an animal locates itself with respect to other animals and objects by emitting sound waves and sensing the pattern of the reflected sound waves.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5? N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


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Badwaik, N. 1989. Gestation Period in some Indian Hipposiderid Bats. Bat Research News, 30/2: 21-26.

Bates, P., D. Harrison. 1997. Bats of the Indian Subcontinent. Kent: Harrison Zoological Museum.

Bhupathy, S. 1987. Occurrence of the Bi-Coloured Leaf-Nosed Bat (Hipposideros fulvus) in Rajasthan. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 84/1: 199-200.

Das, P. 2003. Studies on Some Indian Chiroptera from West Bengal. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, Occasional Paper, 217: 1-164.

Gopalakrishna, A., P. Choudhari, A. Madhavan, D. Patil, N. Badwaik. 1992. Breeding Habits and Associated Phenomena in Some Indian Bats - Part XIII - Male Reproductive Patterns in Three Bats. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 89/3: 282-289.

Hill, J., A. Zubaid, G. Davison. 1986. The taxonomy of leaf-nosed bats of the Hipposideros bicolor group (Chiroptera: Hipposideridae) from southeastern Asia. Mammalia, 50/4: 535-540.

Kanagaraj, C., P. Nathan, H. Raghuram, K. Rajan. 2007. Evolutionary Dynamics of Hipposiderid Bats in the Indian Subcontinent. Bat Research News, 48/3: 128.

Madhavan, A., D. Patil, A. Gopalakrishna. 1978. Breeding Habits and Associated Phenomena in Some Indian Bats - Part IV Hipposideros fulvus fulvus Hipposideridae. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 75/1: 96-103.

Nowak, R. 1994. Walker's Bats of the World. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Saikia, U., R. Sharma, D. Sharma. 2006. Record of Fulvous Leaf-Nosed Bat Hipposideros fulvus Gray, 1838 from Jammu and Kashmir, India. Zoos' Print Journal, 21/3: 2197.

Sinha, Y. 1980. The Bats of Rajasthan: Taxonomy and Zoogeography. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, 76/1-4: 7-63.

Srinivasulu, C., S. Molur. 2008. "Hipposideros fulvus" (On-line). 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed January 30, 2009 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/.

Tuladhar-Douglas, W. 2008. The Use of Bats as Medicine Among the Newars. Journal of Ethnobiology, 28/1: 69-91.

Wason, A. 1978. Observations on homing ability of some insectivorous bats. Zeitschrift fur Saugetierkunde, 43/5: 305-306.