Kuluban (Fruit Bats)

In this design the artist has painted a colony of kuluban (flying foxes) hanging from the branches of a tree at night. It is dry season (yekke) and many flowers are in bloom. Kuluban feed on flowers and, in turn, pythons including Nawuran (Oenpelli pythons) feed on the flying foxes. Kuluban are also a food source for the Indigenous people of Northern Australia although to Western tastes the flesh is very gamey and pungent. When particular varieties of blossom come into season the diet of the bat changes the degree of sweetness in the flesh of the bat itself. They are silent in flight but can be heard feeding at night in the trees and are raucous as they roost in the mornings. Kuluban is the generic word for flying foxes, but also specifically refers to the black flying fox, Pteropus alecto.