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How to serve a flying fox. 

Flying fox (Pteropus sp.)

The flying fox (Pteropus mariannus mariannus, a bat from family Pteropodidae) can be cooked in coconut milk, or just in water for 45 minutes, after which one must add salt and coconut flakes. The bat does not need to be cleaned or gutted, the skin does not need to be removed and the wings do not need to be cut off. They go into the pot whole. They are cooked whole or not at all. This may sound odd, but after all it is no different to eating an oyster live or a sea cucumber. The participant in flying fox feasts say that the aroma is amazing and the fox tastes of fruit. This is not surprising as the the flying foxes feed predominantly on fruits. Their inside taste as if they had been stuffed with a fruit compote. The bat is eaten as a whole and chewed carefully, after a while all that is left is a bunch of fur in the mouth. This is also to be swallowed, according to the table etiquette of the greatest connoisseurs  of this delicacy - the inhabitants of the island of Guam, the largest of the islands of the Marian Archipelago. 

For centuries the Chamarros, the name given to the locals of Guam, have feasted on the bats which are endemic to the Marian Islands. And this caused no problems as long as the population was small in number. Now, although the tradition is disappearing, it is doing so at a slower rate than the population of the local flying foxes. There are now only about 600 foxes on Guam, and although there has been a total ban on hunting them since 1973, they can still be found on the black market for a couple of dollars per fox. To satisfy the market, large numbers of bats are imported from the neighboring islands of Palau, Samoa, Truk and Pohnpei. There is also a large population of bats on the Philipenes, but the locals of Guam don't like the these bats as they consider them to be flying dogs. Connoisseurs can easily tell them apart. Bats have been consumed on many Pacific islands for centuries, but the most distinguished connoisseurs are the Chamorros of Guam. 


insert: folklore motif from New Caledonia


Flying fox on the market of a Pacific Island. 



(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

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February  2003