There is an insane photo doing the rounds on social media of an obscenely large, strange looking creature that resembles an oversized bat. While this unusual creature is 100% real, the size of the creature in the photo is misleading.
The photo shows hammerhead bat (also known as the “hammer-headed bat”), scientifically named Hypsignathus monstrosus which can be found in the middle of Africa. Although it looks like it comes from your darkest nightmare, it's actually a harmless fruitbat so it's unlikely to swoop from the trees and attack you, however, it is a known carrier of the deadly virus called Ebola. It has been known to attack chicken and drink their blood – cue traumatic flashbacks of vampire scary movies. The hammerhead bat typically lives in tropical moist forests, riverine forests, swamp forests, mangroves and palm forests, where it rests in trees in groups of only five bats.
Although the hammerhead bat is quite large, the viral picture exaggerates its size as the person is holding it up close to the camera. Its wingspan is up to 97 cm, and it is known to be Africa’s largest bat although the males can grow to double the size of the females. The hammerhead bat truly has a face that only a mother could love with its unusual mouth, throat and lips designed to make loud honking noises to call their mates. They have lose lips that flap open to expose their not so pearly whites, flaps around a snout that definitely looks like it could use a little bit of surgical adjustment, and a bald, split chin and cheek pouches – but not the cute chubby kind!
Although they are "harmless", they certainly look like they will be haunting my dreams for nights to come!