Exploring the “human-sized” flying marvels and attempting to decipher their secrets

When it flies through the air spread-eagled, the enormous golden-crowned bat, which has wings almost as broad as Tom Cruise, looks terrible. Its skinny, hairy body draws attention to the magnitude of its wings, which are almost as wide as Tom Cruise. When it is roosting, the long, elastic cape that it wears gives it the appearance of a vampire.

Despite its terrifying size, the fruit-eating megabat, which is a member of a species that is only found in the Philippines, is harmless and shows no signs of attacking people. The Philippines are the only place in the world where you can find this species.

They have become an endangered species because to human encroachment on their natural habitat as well as illicit hunting of them for either sport or food.

People, who were surprised by their size and alarmed by the way they appeared to be predators, were both enthralled and horrified by images that went viral of these defenseless endangered species.When the first images of them went viral, people immediately began referring to them as “human-sized” bats; however, this incorrect description led to both confusion and terror among the public.

Before we can proceed with learning more about these peculiar animals, there are a few points that need to be clarified. To begin, they are not “human-sized” unless you adopt an extremely broad meaning of the term and compare them to the size of a “small child” rather than the size of an average adult human being.

The giant golden-crowned bat is one of the largest kinds of bats in the world. It has a wingspan of around 5 feet 6 inches, a body that ranges in size from seven inches to 11.4 inches, and weighs less than 3 pounds.

The fig-loving bat is a nocturnal herbivore that hunts at night for roots, fruits, and vegetables. Its head is covered in a fluffy golden crown.

Although there are other varieties of flying fox megabats in Asia, Africa, and Australia, the golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) is unique to the Philippine jungles, where it frequently lives in colonies with up to 10,000 members.

It spends the day hanging from its clawed toes in the trees with a group of its companions, dozing off. Sometimes, the enormous flying fox, which has a wingspan of less than five feet, would sleep with its smaller cousins, the giant bats.Giant Golden-crowned Flying Foxes don’t use echolocation like many other bats do; instead, they use sight and scent to find their way through the air.

By spreading fig seeds after it feeds, the flying fox contributes to reforestation throughout the Philippines while remaining unrelenting in its fight against deforestation.Unfortunately, humans do more destruction the harder the bats work.

More than 90% of the old-growth forests in the Philippines have been destroyed, and the species has totally vanished from many of its former roosting locations on numerous islands, according to Bat Conservation International (BCI).

Destruction of its natural habitat and hunting, for sale, sport and personal consumption, are causing a rapid decline in the golden-crowned bat population, that dropped by 50 per cent from 1986 to 2016. Since, the species is listed as endangered on The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Although the Philippine Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 provides protection for bats, the law is not upheld.

In spite of the fact that most of the animals’ roosts are in protected zones, they are nonetheless mass-killed. Hunters shoot the sleeping animals while they are roosting, which is an incredibly brutal and terrible activity. Many of the injured animals still have their toes holding the branch when they are killed, preventing them from dropping.

Even though people pose a serious danger to the bat population, flying foxes are not afraid of people and can be seen in forests close to cities or towns, perched on utility poles, or just loitering in inhabited places where they feel at ease. They can distinguish between safe and unsafe environments, though, and will move and roost in places that are inaccessible to people, including slopes more than 1,000 feet above sea level.

Similar to a dog in intelligence, these bats are also incredibly quick learners with a high capacity for memory, according to studies.

According to a study on operant conditioning, flying-fox bats that were raised by humans were effectively taught to pull levers in exchange for juice rewards. More significantly, when the bats came back to the comfortable experimental chamber three and a half years later, they pulled the levers right away because they knew they would be rewarded.

Some people may find the distinctive physical characteristics of bats to be disturbing or terrifying. It’s possible that their huge eyes, pointed teeth, and leathery wings will make you feel scared or uneasy.

Despite their unfavorable reputation as murderous animals, only three of the 1,300 species of bats are known to ingest human blood. The golden-crowned flying foxes are actually rather cute, if you can get over your initial shock at how creepy they are!

It’s very upsetting to learn that these bright, innocent animals are being slaughtered and losing their habitat as a result of deforestation. Share this tale if you concur to raise awareness for this harmless, endangered creature.

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