Meet Statler, the geri-‘bat’-tric Indian fruit bat

This incredible 33-year-old is the oldest bat in captivity and gets a handheld 'flight' every day
fruit bat The Indian fruit bat, or flying fox, is one of the world's largest bat species. (Photo 77228635 © -

Bats are truly remarkable animals.

Being the only mammals capable of true flight would make them amazing enough. But these creatures are also capable of other feats. For example, many species use echolocation to navigate in low-light conditions—they create high-pitched sounds and then listen for how those sounds bounce off objects around them to be able to 'see'. Other bats—such as fruit bats and flying foxes—are stunningly large. A few have a wingspan that is almost as wide as an adult human is tall!

Of course, bats are also well known for the fear that they inspire in some people (that and the fact that they feed on the blood of some animals, we suppose). But a lot of the fear of bats comes from not really understanding them. Once you get to know them, you can really start to appreciate them for the beautiful animals they are.

So let's meet a very special bat right now. Statler!

Old, but full of life

Statler is a 33-year-old Indian fruit bat that lives at the Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford, Texas. He is the oldest bat in captivity in the world, and to be honest, his age is showing. This fellow has arthritis (pain in his joints), spots on his body, and is mysteriously missing an eye. He is also unable to fly anymore.

But this is one bat that is not letting age get him down. According to his caretakers, he is unusually affectionate for a fruit bat, and he also gets along really well with his fellow bat buddies. And to help him feel the sensation of flying, the people at the sanctuary help him out by carrying him through the air while Statler flaps his wings.

Would you like to see? The Dodo put together a terrific video of the day in the life of Statler and we're sharing it below. Click play to meet this bat for yourself!

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  1. Hi! Thank you for writing about Statler. I did want to reach out and just alert you of a couple of things you may want to correct on this article. <3

    The first thing is you mention many bat species are nearly sightless- this is untrue. All species of bats actually see fairly well, most as well as we do. No species of bat is sightless or nearly sightless, and echolocation only aids them for low light conditions, it does not replace their vision.

    Second is that Bat World Sanctuary is absolutely not a zoo. BWS is an accredited sanctuary facility, and rescues bats *from* zoos and other establishments. There is a very large different between the two type of organizations.

    Thanks! Have a good one.

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