The Philippines Has Human-Sized Bats — Don’t Worry They’re Vegetarian

giant golden-crowned flying fox

Old photos of what appears to be a human-sized bat have recently re-emerged, baffling even more people on social media. 

Earlier this week, Twitter user @AlexJoestar622 reminded everyone of the massive creature by posting an image with the caption, “Remember when I told y’all about the Philippines having human-sized bats? Yeah, this was what I was talking about.”

The same bat has been the subject of online discussion in the past when it first went viral in 2018 on Reddit. Images sourced from several news reports have since been reposted multiple times on other platforms.

The recent post sparked renewed interest in the magnificent beast called the giant golden-crowned flying fox, a bat species native to the Philippines.

Also known as the golden-capped fruit bat, the animal belongs to the megabat family which contains the largest bat species in the world. Megabats have the longest forearm length of any species, measuring up to 215 millimeters (8.5 inches). Its wingspan comes at an impressive 1.5–1.7 meters (4.9–5.6 feet), which is enough to cover an average-sized human. The giant golden-crowned flying fox itself could weigh up to 1.40 kilograms (3.1 pounds).

While many would consider the bats terrifying, they’re quite harmless. Their diets consist mostly of fruit and plant leaves, their main food source being figs. They spend most of the day sleeping as they are also nocturnal like other bat species.

 

Like nearly all megabats, the giant golden-crowned flying fox cannot echolocate or use high-frequency sounds to navigate. It uses good eyesight to fly and search for their food.

Sadly, the forest areas where these bats live continue to decrease due to human activity. With less habitat for food and shelter, the numbers continue to dwindle. Between 1986–2016, its population has reportedly declined by over 50%, according to ADW.

The giant golden-crowned flying fox is currently under international protection by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). However, even with national and international laws that make hunting and trade of this species illegal, they remain unprotected as these regulations aren’t enforced properly.

Threatened by poaching and deforestation, the megabat has completely disappeared from many islands in the Philippines, such as Panay and many parts of Cebu.

Feature Image (left) via Reddit, (right) @cherkillia

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