People Can't Believe This Bat With A HUGE Head Is Real
He has a very special talent 🎤
Finding a girlfriend isn’t easy for the hammer-headed fruit bat.
The female bats pick their mates based on one important thing — who has the best voice. Luckily, the male bats are basically born to sing.
While most bats have rodent or canine-like faces, these bats have a look all their own.
“The male’s moose-shaped head, curled lips, nasal folds and enlarged larynx help him belt out repetitious calls for the female, which then change into a faster staccato when one is nearby,” Dr. Sarah H. Olson, an associate director of wildlife health at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), told The Dodo. “Their face acts as a resonating chamber.”
These bats are so unique-looking that some people are having a hard time believing that they actually exist. But this megabat, the largest in Africa, is far from a fantasy creature.
Large groups of male hammer-headed bats, called leks, can be found in the tropical forests of central Africa, hanging from trees and honking as discerning females fly by. “Male hammer-headed bats make a peculiar calling sound at night to attract females, which makes them identifiable almost anywhere,” Olson said.
These bats usually keep to themselves, but recently have been coming in closer and closer contact with people.
“They don’t seek out interactions with humans per se, but they are sometimes found living nearby settlements and towns and will consume fruit crops,” Olson said. “One unanswered question is how human changes to the landscape may alter their interactions with people, with a concern that decreasing natural habitat may require them to shift their diet to just cultivated fruit trees, bringing people and bats into closer contact.”
Like all fruit bats, the hammer-headed bat plays an important role in dispersing seeds across tropical forests. Olson and her teammates are studying the bats and their movements in hopes of helping these amazing animals.
But with deforestation and habitat loss, these megabats face an uphill battle.
“I just found out this week logging is starting near our research site in the northern Republic of Congo,” Olson said. “Our research site is a large mating arena, or lek, and I suspect if enough trees are lost, the bats may abandon a site they’ve used for at least 10 years, and maybe many more.”
If you have any doubt that these bats are special — all you need to do is look at one. “I think a picture is worth a thousand words,” Olson said.