An Eye on Wildlife

Wildlife Conservation Society Menu
Hammer-headed Bat Ambassador

July 25, 2018

Hammer-headed Bat Ambassador

- as seen by -

Sarah H. Olson Sarah H. Olson

As a charismatic bat ambassador, this male hammer-headed fruit bat’s (Hypsignathus monstrosusearlier profile shot enthralled readers of this blog and social media alike. There is something about his Yoda-like ears, curvaceous lip folds, and glassy brown eyes that surprise and remind us that we have so much to learn about the world.

What a picture can’t capture are the rhythmic sounds of the males at the lek (recorded by ©Jack Bradbury from The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), a site where they congregate and call to entice females to come and mate. It’s actually a bit like a tree-top swamp of croaking frogs generated by the male’s greatly enlarged larynx and vocal cords as well as distinctive air sacs, cheek pouches, and nasal folds.

We captured him the previous night, having our best netting success when the male bat choir is the loudest. We measured his morphometrics, collected swabs, and blood to analyze later for viruses, and observed him throughout the day for any adverse behavioral response to the customized collar-affixed GPS tracker that weighed less than 5% of his body mass. Moments after this shot, we released him and he methodically took flight using his three foot wingspan to fly into the crepuscular glow.

, Africa Map It


Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jamie Trask
July 28, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Save all the Animals now and forever.

July 29, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I am very interested in learning more about these bats, I have never seen one before ! What else do you know about them?

    Wild View Editor
    August 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for your nice comment.

    You can learn more about hammer-headed bats from a previous post, which you can find here – https://bit.ly/2ve5AFr. You can also stay tuned on Wild View for future hammer-headed bat posts from Sarah.

Marshall Stambovsky,M.D.
July 30, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.

July 31, 2018 at 6:29 am

I am in love with bats. They are so fascinating. I am extremely interested in this particular species. Just AWESOME.

Daniel Efner
March 31, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Such a glorious animal. Makes me want to learn more about bats.

Eileen Jones
August 15, 2019 at 2:44 pm

I hear these bats every night outside of my house when I take my dog out to do his business. I always thought the sound came from frogs, or salamanders. I was amazed to learn it is coming from them.
I want to overcome my fear of bats. Can you tell me if I have any justifiable fears? I see them flying around at dusk and they come surprisingly close. Why is that?

    WCS Wild View
    September 10, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Eileen and all

    Thank you for your comments and great questions. You inspired us to find out more about some of the bat behaviors. We have a new post about some of them. Check out Wild View’s “Benefits of Bats” https://bit.ly/2maD6eb posted on September 10, 2019.

Carla Aijtink
November 17, 2019 at 4:37 am

Wat een mooi beroep hebben deze mensen toch. Wat een intrigerend dier. Moet bekennen dat ik van deze speciefieke soort nog nooit had gehoord. Ben zelf fan van de reuzen kahlong (vosvleermuis). Maar dit ras is ook bijzonder interessant.

Leslie Rothwell
February 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Beautiful, intriguing, and magical creatures which I find fascinating, they should be nurtured and protected for ever.

  • Pingback: 25 Funny Looking Animals: Bringing Joy to Our World with Their Quirky Appearance – FoxSumo