Wild Fact #424 – In Need of a Face Lift – Wrinkle Faced Bat
Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Wild Facts. Today we are going to learn about one of the most bizarre looking animals I have ever laid eyes on. Just look at the picture above of the Wrinkle Faced Bat. They definitely have a face that only a mother could love. This odd looking bat can be found throughout Central America, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this unusual creature during your next Caribbean vacation. So what do you say? Are you ready to learn why the Wrinkle Faced Bat looks the way they do?
A Face Only a Mother Could Love
Before we find out why they have such an odd appearance, let’s talk a little more about their unique look. The Wrinkle Faced Bat is a dreary yellow to brownish colour, has no tail and weighs about 17 grams (0.6 oz). Compared to the females, the males have more pronounced skin flaps that can actually be used to cover their face. If I looked like this, I would want to cover my face too. Both males and females have little pouches in their mouth that allows them to store fruit for later. Okay, let’s find out why they look so weird!
One Strong Bite
So the question that has been stymying scientists for decades is probably the same one you had when you saw this bat. Why in the world do they look like that? We are not 100% certain but the best guess going is the odd shaped head of the Wrinkle Faced Bat allows this bat to eat a wider variety of fruit. As a result of the odd skull shape, the Wrinkle Faced Bat has a bite force 20% greater than other bats of their size. This allows them to eat harder fruits that regular ol’ fruit bats couldn’t handle. Why is this important? It has been proposed that this bat evolved this characteristic to compensate for the lack of soft fruit available during lean years. The ability to eat a wider variety of food has allowed this bat to survive for generations. Sure, they may look hideous but at least they are successful.
That does it for today’s Wild Fact. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Wrinkle Faced Bat.