May 15, 2018
- as seen by -Sarah H. Olson
I’m simply awestruck by hammer-headed fruit bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus). Close-up any given feature, eye, fur, nose, ear, wing, or foot, is extraordinary. In hand, whiskers appear in patterns seemingly unique to each individual, and the nasal and lip folds of the adult males, like the one shown, provide a sculptural finish to the overall moose-head look. As we handle them to collect samples, they show distinct behaviors ranging from docile to teeth masher, hence the thick leather gloves. Functionally, as the largest fruit bats in Africa (males weigh in around one pound), they are flying seed dispersal machines, critical to equatorial forest health. In fact, this last mission we captured one, fig-in-mouth-in-flight.
The GPS trackers we deployed, and seen on this bat, will help us understand the ecology and behavior of hammer-headed bats. The Wildlife Conservation Society is partnering with the U.S. National Institutes of Health because these same bats are suspected to be asymptomatic reservoirs for Ebola virus. Aside from threats to human health, this deadly virus is linked to massive declines in populations of western lowland gorillas in Congo and Gabon. Our job as scientists is to find a way to prevent Ebola outbreaks and help conserve these bats for future generations, one bat at time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Read more on hammer-headed bats here.
Leave a Comment
May 16, 2018 at 12:08 pm
What transmitter are you utilising ?
May 17, 2018 at 12:20 am
wow! good luck
May 21, 2018 at 9:37 am
dear sarah and colleagues:
a magazine post is saying these gorgeous and amazing bats can now be found in florida. truth or bats**t?
Wild View Editor
May 22, 2018 at 1:21 pm
Thanks for your thoughts on these cool bats. The above post is accurate on where hammerheaded bats are found in the wild.
May 21, 2018 at 10:13 am
These bats should be called Moosehead bats they look more like a moose than a hammer
July 28, 2018 at 6:57 am
Kind of a combination of Moose and Squirrel – ha!
Bullwinkle and Rocky mixed into one
Has an muhammad
May 22, 2018 at 4:37 am
Take care. There is an outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala state, south India. Certain kind of fruit Bat is suspected to be carrier of the deadly Virus. More than five people have been died in the state last week
June 17, 2018 at 2:56 pm
Intersting article, and I would enjoy seeing more data. I thought I’d mention that I did some work with Bradbury on H. monstrous about 40 years ago. Published in Jo. Exp. Biology, Carpenter, 1986,”Flight physiology of some intermediate-sized fruit bats.” (as I recall title !)
July 20, 2018 at 1:22 pm
Replying to the questions which I just realized were here!
Jaco – it is an Eobs Solar 15g tracker
Philip – they are only found in Africa when it comes to wild bats, though one can’t rule out a possible captive population in Florida
Rodger C – I’ve already had some email exchanges with Dr. Bradbury and downloaded your article! Early days still for the tracking but we’ll publish our findings.
Dr. Jessica Claudio
July 14, 2018 at 4:43 am
That is one extraordinary gift to the world!
July 28, 2018 at 7:14 pm
OMG!! That is the most Adorable bat I’ve ever seen! You’re so lucky to have spent time with them.
Sarah are they as sweet and loving as they look? My fiance and I are in debate over this, he says they are vicious and I say they are fruit bats that need love and understanding not judgement haha i know its a bat but still ever living creature needs love.
July 29, 2018 at 8:35 am
I truly hope that most dangerous, destructive and greedy species, man, leaves these creatures in peace to perform their essential work.
August 16, 2018 at 10:26 am
They are extremely unique and exemplary features,recently found in Kenya,west pokot county n locals believe it is witchcraft
September 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm
Wow that is a beautiful creature. Looks like a flying gerbil.
September 25, 2018 at 8:35 pm
A friend of mine caught a hammerhead bat in upstate South Carolina
October 5, 2018 at 2:21 pm
Billy, pictures to share?
October 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm
Absolutely beautiful creatures
I am hoping to one day to have a bat rehab in my area.
They can be quite cute happy to cling to a human for hours while we do things. I wish more people would take the time to get to know these amazing creatures. They are crucial to our planet.
May 22, 2019 at 11:50 am
WHAT IS A BATS WINTER AND SUMMER HABITATS?
May 22, 2019 at 11:50 am
WHAT IS A HAMMERHEAD BATS WINTER AND SUMMER HABITATS?
January 6, 2020 at 5:48 pm
so my sister asked if there bad for you, like if they bite you do you get diseases.
WCS Wild View
January 14, 2020 at 9:52 am
Here is a post on the Benefits of Bats that you might find interesting. https://blog.wcs.org/photo/2019/09/10/benefits-of-bats-hammer-headed-bat-africa/
June 8, 2020 at 2:34 am
I am happy to see this little fellow for the first time! Hope to hear a lot more about him or her.
October 4, 2020 at 11:55 am
Wow I love bats but never know about this one . I see them as
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February 20, 2022 at 4:18 pm
Amazing creature. Don’t know anything about them, but i will do some research
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