It is a well-known fact that certain species of bats have been responsible for spreading dreadful diseases. However, bats play a significant role in the preservation of the environment.
In addition to eating unwanted insects like mosquitoes, they also play an important role in plant reproduction by pollinating flowers and dispersing plant seeds.
Fruit bats, often known as megabats, are the largest bats in the world; however, not all fruit bats grow to be very large.
The following list showcases the ten largest bats in the world.
1. Greater Spear-nosed Bat
The Greater Spear-nosed bat roost communally in caves or tree hollows, occasionally forming colonies of more than a thousand members.
The average length of males is 5.23 inches, while the average length of females is 4.9 inches, making this the second-largest species in Central and South America. On the other hand, the female has a wingspan approximately 1.8 feet longer than the male.
The animal is easily identifiable due to the distinctive spear-like structure of the leaf that covers its nose. Unusually, it feeds on birds, not just birds, but also other bats and rodents that are manageable in size for it. However, it may eat insects and fruit if its typical food isn’t around.
It spends the majority of the day hidden away in massive colonies that may be found in caves and abandoned buildings, only emerging once the sun has set.
2. Greater Noctule Bat
This mammal, which measures approximately 6 inches from snout to tail and has a wing span of 18 inches, hunts birds and is one of the few bats that hunt animals larger than insects. In addition to this, it chases birds while they are in flight.
To accomplish this, it makes use of echolocation and possesses wings that are remarkably slender and sensitive.
Even though the wings are more likely to sustain damage, the animal can outmaneuver its victim while stalking it at night. It can be found in Europe, as well as western Asia and North Africa.
3. Franquet’s Epauletted Bat
Several nations in West Africa, including Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire, are home to this species.
Additionally, it can also be discovered in the countries of Congo, Sudan, Angola, and Zambia. Its length ranges from 5.51 to 7.01 inches, and its wing spread is an average of 2 feet.
The mating rituals of these creatures are a mystery to scientists because they live alone or in small groups and tend to stay to themselves.
They believe they do not have a single breeding season but only breed throughout the year. It derives its name from the white patches on its shoulders that contrast with the dark brown or orange fur on the rest of its body.
The frugivorous Franquet’s epauletted bat has an unusual feeding method, even though it consumes fruit. It does this by pressing the fruit against the back of its hard palate, swallowing the juice together with the seeds, and then spitting the pulp out. Additionally, it consumes flowers.
4. Hammer-headed Bat
The unfortunate scientific term for this creature is Hypsignathus monstrosus, which lives in the woodlands of central Africa near pools of water.
Males can weigh up to two times as much as females but are significantly longer than females. The largest males can reach a length of 11 inches and weigh close to a pound, while the largest females can reach a length of 8.8 inches. The hammer-headed bat is one of the largest bats in the world, mainly found on the African mainland.
Because males of this species have a larger larynx and other expanded features on their heads that assist their vocalizations, they are responsible for giving this species its hammer-headed nickname.
They have oversized lips, a warty, humped snout, large cheek pouches, and a cleft chin, among their physical characteristics.
It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s one of the ugliest animals on the planet. The female appears to have more of the features of a typical flying fox.
Because of the loud sounds produced by the male hammer-headed bat, this species is sometimes regarded as a pest in certain areas.
5. Golden-crowned Flying Fox
The Golden-crowned Flying Fox is one of the largest bats in the world. These animals are also known as golden-capped fruit bats. It is simply remarkable how large it is.
Although its body length of 7.01 to 11.42 inches is shorter in length than that of certain other species, it makes up for this shortcoming with a wingspan of 5.6 feet and a maximum weight of 2.6 pounds.
It inhabits hardwood forests near the margins of cliffs, marshes, or mangrove forests, and other regions where it can avoid human habitation in the Philippines.
The bat’s fur is short, smooth, and mottled in color, with brown or black on the head, russet around the shoulder, cream on the nape of the neck, and golden hairs found all over the body of the animal.
These bats have a strange stench, one that human beings find repulsive. Researchers believe that bats use this smell to communicate with one another.
The golden-crowned flying fox is a frugivore and plays a vital role in the spread of seeds, particularly those of the fig.
Both its mating behaviors and the length of time it can survive on its own in the wild are unknown to scientists. They have found that it prefers to sleep in colonies that contain other species of fruit bats.
The golden-crowned flying fox will go from its colony just as the sun sets to search for food and return just before it rises.
The golden-crowned flying fox in the Philippines is at risk of extinction due to the widespread destruction of its natural habitat.
6. The Great Flying Fox
The Great Flying Fox, also known as the Bismarck Flying Fox, is native to New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, which is where it gets its alternate name.
It is one of the largest bats in the world, mostly found in Melanesia, with males measuring between 10.5 and 13.0 inches in length and females measuring between 9.2 and 11.0 inches, and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds, making it one of the heaviest options. It consumes fruit, particularly figs, just like the majority of other flying foxes do.
Even though it may have a bare back and fur of a lighter tint on the rump, the fur of this bat can range in color from a rich golden brown to a rusty red.
These bats enjoy congregating to create colonies that can number in the thousands and will hang from the branches of trees.
Because it frequently resides near the water, the great flying fox often comes across fruits carried on the ocean’s waves and picks them up.
7. Madagascan Flying Fox
The Madagascar flying fox is one of the largest bats in the world, mainly found on the island country of Madagascar.
It has the potential to grow to a length of 9 to 10.5 inches and has a wing span of more than 4 feet. It has brown fur, a vulpine face with an alert expression, and either gray or black wings.
Both sexes have the same body structure overall, except for the male having a little larger head than the female.
This flying fox species do not roost in caves but rather in trees that are very old and large and can support vast colonies. Its leathery wings are wrapped around it while it hangs upside down.
When a flying fox consumes fruit, particularly figs, the seeds spread far and wide as they travel through the animal’s digestive track.
Figs are particularly popular among flying foxes. In addition to that, it consumes nectar, flowers, and leaves. The Madagascan flying fox is a pollinator of the kapok tree, which is an ornamental tree grown for its beauty; the natives also use the blooms to prepare teas and soups.
8. Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat
This creature’s name comes from the fact that its tail is not attached to its wing membranes, giving it the appearance of being free.
Even though it has only been spotted in a cave in Cambodia and two locations in India, there is not enough information available on this species of bat to classify it as endangered or even vulnerable. However, there have been efforts undertaken to preserve it.
The Wroughton’s free-tailed bat has enormous ears that point forward and a large nose pad on a face that is otherwise furless. It measures approximately 6 inches from head to tail.
The fur is velvety and dark brown on the top of the animal’s head, back, and rump, while the rear of the animal’s neck and shoulders are silvery in color. The animal consumes insects, and both males and females possess a throat sac.
9. Spectral Bat
One of the largest bats in the world goes to this tailless species, a prominent species in the Americas, which may grow to be 5.3 inches long with a wingspan of more than 3 feet.
It has enormous round ears and a large nose leaf, and its fur is fine and reddish-brown. Although experts have no idea when the species’ breeding season is.
They are aware that the females give birth to just one young between the late spring and the middle of the summer, which is quite unusual for bats, and they also know that the males help take care of the baby.
Due to a previous belief that it consumed blood, the spectral bat got the name “great false vampire bat.” Because of their acute sense of smell, spectral bats are some of the top hunters in the woods of Central and South America, second only to jaguars in terms of the quality of prey they can bring down.
They feed on insects, rodents, frogs, lizards, and even other species of bats and small birds. Once they have located a prey, they swoop down and use their deadly bite to shatter the victim’s skull.
10. Greater Horseshoe Bat
This bat is the largest specimen of its kind that one can find in Europe. Not only is it prevalent in Europe, but also in northern Africa, central Asia, and eastern Asia.
Because its winter and summer encampments are only around 19 miles away from one another, Experts believe it to be a non-migratory species.
From its nose to its tail, the animal can reach a maximum length of around 4.5 inches, with females being larger than males. Their wing span ranges from 14 to 16 inches.
The bottom of the nose leaf has the shape of a horseshoe, where the animal gets its name. The top of the leaf has a pointy tip. It has wings that are a light grayish brown color and fluffy gray fur all over its body.
It is a species that can live for up to 30 years, making it a long-lived animal. The majority of its diet consists of moths.