Here’s What You Need to Know About That ‘Human-Sized’ Bat Going Viral

The world is a strange place indeed, and social media have revealed many mysteries and bizarre phenomena we knew nothing about previously.

Yet, even if you were begging for us to tell you that there is no such thing as a giant bat, we cannot. Yup, these bats exist, but are not as scary as some viral posts claim!

A couple of years ago, one Twitter user shared a photo of a so-called “human-sized” bat in the Philippines. Yet, things are not quite as the photo seems, as giant bats are by no means the size of a human being.

Many believed that it is a giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus), which is one of the largest bat species, but the creature on the photo does not have the characteristic tuft of yellow fur on top of its head.

Therefore, it may be a large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus).

The family of these flying bats, also called the Fox Bat, consists of 65 different species of giant bats that live on tropical islands, from Australia to Madagascar, Indonesia, the Philippines, and many parts of mainland Asia.

They just look huge, with a 5 feet wide (1.5 m) wingspan, but their bodies are not that big, and the largest one can reach 16 inches (about 40 cm).

The photo sparked debate online, with many claiming it is fake.

Yet, after it was confirmed that it is depicting an existing bat species, @AlexJoestar622 clarified the caption:

“Let me clear things up for a bit. It’s a 6-year old human-sized or like about that of a small dog. 5.58 is the wingspan, not its height.”

Giant bats are important in their ecosystem, for pollination, pest control, and seed dispersal.

Yet, they are endangered by habitat loss, barbed wire, nets, and hunting. As their habitat is disappearing, they have started migrating to more urban areas, where they can find food.

Many people claim that they look terrifying, these megabats are herbivores. Out of more than 1,300 bat species found around the world, only three feed on blood, so they mainly feast on fruits.

Just like all other bats, they prefer to spend their days sleeping in the treetops and be more active at night. To navigate themselves throughout the night, they use their nose and eyes.

Bats are not allowed to be imported to North America, as they eat fruits, and are considered pests that can cause problems for farmers.

Numerous groups, mainly in Australia, work hard to ensure the protection of bats and their habitats. They also take care of injured and sick bats, and raise orphaned baby bats which are later returned to their natural home.