The hammerhead bat is back to haunt your nightmares. I can definitely say that I was sleeping better before I knew that this monstrosity was real. And that’s coming from someone who thinks bats are kinda cute…dare I say cute?
Is It Real?
So let’s start with the bad news. This scary creature, also called “hammer-headed bat” is absolutely confirmed to be real. The good news is that it isn’t in the United States. The Hammerhead Bat lives in African forests, just doing hammer-headed fruit bat things (scaring people) and dispersing fruits around the forests of equatorial Africa.
What Is It?
The Hammer-headed bat’s scientific name is Hypsignathus Monstrosus. This large bat is one of the three animals that scientists think might be a carrier of the Ebola virus. The other two contenders, potentially linked to Ebola outbreaks, are the Egyptian fruit bat and Little-collared Fruit Bat. However, the correlation has not been confirmed. Disease, however, isn’t uncommon amongst adult Hammerhead Bats. They often contract the parasitic Hepatocystis Carpenteri.
These megabats are frugivores, eating mostly figs and other tropical fruits. The bats are typically found in lowland tropics, mangroves, riverine forests and swamp forests where it roosts in the trees, usually in groups smaller than five.
An interesting characteristic of the Hammer-headed Bat is the “noticeable sexual dimorphism.” The Hammer-headed Bat is Africa’s largest bat species. However, due to the sexual dimorphism, the male bats are about three times larger than the females. The male’s head is much larger and they produce loud honking calls. The female’s appearance is more similar to traditional fruit bats. Additionally, the female wingspan only reaches about 33 inches, where the males reach up to almost 40, typically measuring around 38 inches.
I’m not sure who, where, or why, but some people hunt these large bats and eat them as bushmeat. Like I said, I don’t even want to know. But if this is what they eat over there, I’m staying here in the United States.
Since many are still convinced the bat’s existence is a hoax since it was first shown on a viral internet picture, the hammerhead bats have been called a real-life “Jersey devil”. At a glance, it does seems like it could have been based on the Hypsignathus monstrosus. But, a quick word of advice, though, maybe don’t google it. Trust me.
Well, unless you want nightmares for days. Then be my guest.