Ralph, a long-time resident of Taronga Zoo’s Education Centre, could possibly be the oldest Grey Headed Flying Fox alive today!
At 25 years old, Ralph has lived well beyond the average life span for his species. According to international Zoo records, Ralph has only been outlived by one female Grey Headed Flying Fox who made it to 28 before age caught up with her.
Ralph arrived at Taronga as an injured orphan in 1991. Due to a broken bone in his wing, which became necrotic and had to be removed, Ralph lost the ability to fly and couldn’t be released back into the wild.
Ralph’s lack of flight skills hasn’t stopped him from becoming an amazing ambassador for his species, winning the hearts of generations of keepers and visitors and taking part in many educational classes over the years.
Although not retired yet, Ralph has cut back on his personal appearances in recent years, only appearing in Taronga’s annual Halloween presentation, helping to highlight the role and importance of bats in the wild.
When Ralph isn’t busy wowing his fans, he spends his time hanging out and enjoying a nice fruit cocktail. Grapes are always his favourite, but he’s also fond banana and mango.
Ralph loves to explore on his own occasionally and he can often be found nestled under a towel, hanging near a heat lamp, or having quality time with one of his favourite keepers.
Very few Grey Headed Flying Foxes have made it to the 20 year mark, but despite his age Ralph is still in excellent health, passing his health checks with flying colours every time.
We hope Ralph keeps hanging around with us for many years to come!
- Keeper, Grey Fisher