Sunday, May 05, 2024

Meet the hammer-headed bat

Couldn't help but share a picture of a hammer-headed bat, the largest of all African bats.

These so-ugly-they're cute animals glory in the Latin name Hipsignathus monstrosus, and their similarity to medieval gargoyles has not been lost on researchers. 

They live in the lowland forests of west and central Africa, and eat fruit like figs, guavas, bananas and mangoes, as well as flies and other insects, and even scraps of bird meat and chicken blood. Their wingspan is an impressive one metre, and they wrap their wings around their huge noses to sleep. The boxy elongated heads of the male bats contain a large resonating chamber that amplifies their calls and honks. In fact, their voice box or larynx takes up fully half or hie body cavity, and other major organs are pushed way back by it.

They make particular use of this prodigious voice box during their lek courtship pageants, where up to 150 animals gather together twice a year to honk and flap and generally try to impress the females. The females are picky, though, and only a very small percentage of males are chosen for mating.

Very cool animals.

No comments: