Meet the ‘Grandpa’ Bat: A Furry Winged Creature with an Uncanny Canine Look!

Bats are known to slightly resemble dogs, thanks to their furry exteriors and similar features, earning them the moniker “flying fox.” However, one peculiar breed of fruit bat takes this similarity to a whole new level.

Nicolas Nesi, a postdoctoral research fellow from the Queen Mary University of London who specializes in studying fruit bat evolution, made a remarkable discovery while working on his Ph.D. in West Africa’s lowlands in 2009.

He encountered an adult male Buettikofer’s epauletted bat, a distinctive species that perfectly imitated the classic dog profile.

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“The adult male’s large lips and snout give it the appearance of a dog’s head,” explained Nesi in an interview with The Dodo, highlighting the unique characteristics of this species.

Bat Looks Just Like A Dog With Wings
Source: Nicolas Nesi

Apart from their dog-like facial features, males of this species also possess long white hair, known as epaulettes, around the scent glands on their shoulders.

These can be puffed out or retracted, primarily to attract potential mates, contributing to their fluffy, canine-like appearance. The striking resemblance often leaves people questioning its authenticity.

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“I am accustomed to working with this species, so I recognize its unusual features,” says Nesi, understanding why some people might perceive the bat as being digitally manipulated.

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Source: Nicolas Nesi

Yet, beyond their extraordinary exterior, these creatures contribute to the environment’s balance. As with all bat species, the Buettikofer’s epauletted bats have a critical role in maintaining the ecosystem.

“Fruit bats help regenerate forests by spreading seeds as they consume fruits,” notes Nesi, adding that “these bats, like certain insects and bird species, are significant pollinators in tropical and desert environments.”

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So, much like our faithful canine companions, this bat is doing its part to keep our world in harmony, making it a good boy in its own right.

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Source: Nicolas Nesi
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