Wild Fact #376 – The Moosehead – Hammer-Headed Bat
After a week of playing in the ocean, flying with beautiful coloured birds and risking our lives with a carnivorous caterpillar, I thought we would end with an even more bizarre animal. You just need to take one look at the Hammer-Headed Bat to realize it will be a fun animal to learn more about. I mean, just look at their head! To catch a glimpse of this megabit, we need to take a quick trip to equatorial Africa where will will find them hanging out around rivers, mangrove swamps, and palm forests. Now let’s find out why their head is shaped like a hammer.
That is One Big Nose
Only the male Hammer-Headed Bat is blessed with such a large head, which they use to create incredibly loud honking noises. The large nose, larynx and lips allow the male bat create sounds that are extremely resonant. The females on the other hand have a head that is about 3 times smaller than their male counterparts. In fact, their head looks more like a regular ol’ fruit bat. It is funny how the males are always the ones that have to go out of their way to try and impress their female friends.
Pick Me, Pick Me
Competition for female attention is quite fierce in the Hammer-Headed Bat population. Typically, males will all gather together in a group, which can contain as many as 130 individuals, At this point the female will fly over and assess the entire group of males. She will pick her favourite by landing on a branch next to the lucky winner. I guess it is kind of like picking baseball teams when you were a kid…..I feel bad for the last bat that never gets picked, but I guess that is life. He will just need to go back and work on getting an even larger nose for next year.
The Deadly Megabat
The Hammer-Headed Bat is the largest bat in Africa with a wingspan between 686 to 970 mm (2.3 – 3.2 feet). Typically, the males are larger than the females, which makes sense since they need to be able to carry that big head around all day. Although, it may be tempting to go up and pet this large, hammer-headed creature, iyou need to realize that this particular bat species is one of the 3 fruit bats in Africa that carry the Ebola virus, without showing any symptoms. Not only are they huge but they can also be deadly!