While bats live everywhere around the world, only some parts of our earth are blessed with flying foxes. So, it is no wonder that a photo of a giant flying fox in the Philippines has gone viral on social media. The bat in question is the Golden Crown Giant Flying Fox. What’s new is that these bats are rare and unusually seen in urban areas. Instead, they nest deep in forest caves or high in trees in the rainforests of the Philippines.
The golden-crowned Flying Fox Giant Bat is real and a critically endangered species. And it actually has very long wings. But, while their wingspan can reach almost 6 feet, they only weigh between 2 and 3 pounds. So, this barely matches human weight. Different types of fruit bats, named for their fox-like head and face, can be found in Australia, much of Asia, and some parts of Africa. They only eat fruits and are an integral part of seed propagation in forests.
They are not dangerous to humans and will do their best to avoid the people who still hunt and eat these animals in the Philippines. However, like all bats, if cooked improperly or in unsanitary conditions, they can spread disease. So if you find a giant bat, don’t pet it (or any species of bat) or interact in any way; just leave the bat alone.
Fruit bats do not harm people, but they do benefit their rapidly disappearing forest houses. As more and more trees and forests are cut down, the fruit bats or flying foxes have fewer places to find food.
Is the Human Sized Bat Real?
As I said, the gold-crowned giant flying fox can have a wingspan of up to 5.5 ft, but its body is only about a foot in height. This makes this fruit-eating bat larger than typical bats, but it is definitely not the size of a human, as the viral tweet claims.
The perspective in this particular setting makes the bat appear much more extensive than flying foxes which are certainly not the size of a human. While the largest species have a wingspan of 1.7 meters, their bodies are pretty small, just a foot long. However, there is no doubt that the bat is real.
A social media user posted another photo from a different angle of the bat’s yawning as it woke up from its daytime sleep; flying foxes are usually crepuscular or nocturnal. Trick photography was done to make the bat appear larger than it actually is.
The image is a perfect example of forced perspective photography. This photography method employs optical illusion to make objects appear closer, smaller, larger, or further away than they actually are. Photos of travelers’ holding the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Taj Mahal are examples of forced perspective photography.
Various captions on the web have described it as the giant golden-crowned flying fox or (Acerodon jubatus), which seems doubtful as the bat does not appear to have the characteristic tuft of yellow hair on its head.
The golden-crowned bat is one of the biggest family species of bats around the world, belonging to the family of megabats that are actually found in parts of Oceania, India, Asia, and Africa. So it’s possible the sleepy creature was really a large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus), a similarly impressive megabat distinguished by its long, pointed ears and fox-like head and face.
Unfortunately, in the Philippines, approximately all flying foxes have threatened species due to habitat loss and being hunted as a human food source. Despite the various cultural associations that associate bats with vampires, fruit bats are anything but bloodthirsty beasts of the night.
As fruit eaters, these bats will chatter loudly when feasting on figs and other fruits at dusk and will sleep in large clumps of trees during the day. They would drink nectar instead of looking for blood.
In fact, of more than 1,300 species of bats worldwide, only three feed on blood; biologically, it’s truly quite a strange diet. And unlike their micro-bat brethren, flying foxes don’t navigate by echolocation, relying on their sense of smell and sight instead.
So while bats – even the fuzzy and adorable ones – do carry a zoonotic disease, they are also important for the world’s ecosystems, providing seed dispersal, pest control, pollination, and many more!
Is The Bat Really That Huge?
The bat image posted is completely real, without Photoshop magic. Although, however, social media users were horrified by the picture, it could be more than meets the eye.
Although the bat is larger than what we are used to in the UK, a forced perspective makes it appear much more extensive.
The description of “human size” can confuse people: While the bat is not the same size as a human, its wingspan can be up to five and a half feet wide. The bat is native to the Philippines, where it’s currently classified as endangered by deforestation and poaching. The bat itself is entirely herbivorous, feeding primarily on figs and occasionally leaves.
Again, the megabat was shot following the principles of a camera trick called “forced perspective photography” that made the animal look far more massive than its actual size. Although very similar to the size of a dog or a child.
The species of bat shown in the image, known as a “Golden-Crowned Flying Fox” (Acerodon Jubatus), stunned the users as its skin shined black.
In other hilarious reactions, users said that “these bats are vegetarian and consume mostly fruits; that’s what they want us to think. Next thing you know, you’re up in the air being taken to the cave”. On the other hand, some users thought the bat was “adorable.”
You might hear in the news about the golden-crowned Flying Fox Giant Bat, This bat is indeed true and exists. It is one of the endangered animals in the Philippines. They can weigh and grow just like human weight and height. However, worry not since they don’t harm humans and eventually stay in human habitats. They typically eat fruits for survival/