Wild

Honduran White Bats look like cotton balls with piggy faces and they sleep in leaf tents

August 5th, 2020

When most people think of bats, they think of scary critters that hang upside in caves and could possibly be what vampires turn into when they sleep. And although bats tend to have a bad or ‘creepy’ reputation, they’re actually really incredible animals that are pretty darn cute.

The Honduran White Bat is also known as the Caribbean White Tent-Making Bat.

This particular bat is one that we find irresistibly adorable. You can spot them in the rainforests of the Caribbean coast of Honduras, eastern Costa Rica, and western Panama. What makes them super cool is that they build their own homes!

These talented bats spend their day using heliconia leaves to build tents for them to roost in. They’ll cut along the ridges of the leaf using their teeth – this causes the leaves to fold downward, creating a little tent!

Sometimes you’ll find a solo Honduran white bat hanging out underneath a leaf, but usually, they’ll huddle in groups – sometimes over a dozen!

These leaf tents serve as the bats’ tiny sanctuary. The shelter protects them from the scorching sun, heavy rains, and predators as well. The smart animals purposefully build these tents up high enough from the ground to stay clear of snakes and possums, but low enough under the rainforest canopy to hide from the owls.

What makes their adorable tents even more practical and convenient is the fact that these cutie pies only eat fruit, and lucky for them, the trees they live in are full of fruit so there is food right outside their door.

So, how big are these bats? Well, not big at all! They are teeny tiny at around 1.5- to 2-inches long and weigh just 0.18–0.21 oz.

You might be thinking that they must be the smallest bats on the planet, however, there is a smaller species out there. The Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat takes that title at a length of 1.1 to 1.3 inches and weighing in at an itsy bitsy 0.071 oz.

Their white coats serve a special purpose as a form of camouflage for them. When the sun shines down on them sitting in their leaf tents, the white reflects their surroundings and appears just as green as the leaf!

Their noses and ears are bright orange due to large concentrations of carotenoids. According to Wikipedia, “[The Honduran white bat] is the first mammal known to have enough carotenoids in its skin to generate conspicuous color.”

The tiny creatures aren’t currently endangered, however, they are listed as ‘near-threatened’.

Sadly, the biggest threat to these beautiful animals is humans. Rainforest destruction completely destroys their habitat, leaving them nowhere to go, no food, and often killing them in the process. The disappearance of these trees is happening at an alarming rate.

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Dan W had joined Steve, Fee and Dan H in Costa Rica and after only about three hours they had arrived at the first site and found the first roost of these guys, the Honduran white bat (Ectophylla alba) who many think is one of the cutest bat species we have. These are tent making bats, they bite along the stem of the leaf to make it a more suitable shape to roost in. We found three roosts of these guys, this one being the biggest with around 15 individuals present. Plenty more photos to edit when I get home including one shot of these guys in flight we took that evening #bat #bats #wildlife #wildlfephotography #chiroptera #ecology #wildlifeconservation #wildliferesearch #batcru #ilovebats #batman #batmandan #batconservation #realbatman #batsofinstagram #aewcltd #bbcearth #bbcwildlife #cutebats #batsarecool #batconservationinternational #batconservationtrust #naturephoto #earthcapture #mammalsociety #honduranwhitebat #ectophyllaalba #fluffball #cutewildanimals

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If you’d like to help keep the Honduran white bat population thriving, you can learn more about the current rainforest destruction, as well as donating or volunteering with conservation organizations.

Have we convinced you that bats aren’t so bad after all? We hope so! These little guys are just too cool.

Learn more about this incredible species in the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Diply, Instagram

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