Nature & Environment
This real-life 'Jersey Devil' is actually a genuine creature
By T.K. Randall
October 28, 2023 · 13 comments
Thankfully, this animal only eats fruit. Image Credit: Sarah H. Olson, Chris Walzer et al.
It might look like a rendering of some obscure Pokemon, but it is in fact a real animal.
An image of this peculiar-looking creature first started doing the rounds on social media back in July 2018, prompting speculation over whether it was a new species or some kind of hoax.
With its strangely elongated face, abnormally large size and thin, membrane-like wings, the animal looked a bit like the Jersey Devil - a terrifying winged creature described as a cross between a horse, a bat and a kangaroo that was said to have roamed the forests of the Pine Barrens in South Jersey hundreds of years ago.
As it turns out, however, the creature in the photograph is not a mythical beast at all but a very real animal known as the hammerhead bat.
The largest bat species in Africa, its wingspan can exceed 1 meter across. Its unusually large snout - especially evident in males - acts as a resonating chamber that enables it to make honking sounds.
Like other bats, the hammerhead bat can be found hanging from trees in sizable numbers - but passers-by needn't worry as these winged mammals eat only fruit such as bananas and figs.
Most of the time, though, all it really cares about is finding other bats to mate with.
"These are not terribly smart bats," Jack Bradbury of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology told NPR
"I think most of the synapses in the brain of this male bat [are] devoted to sex, and he doesn't have much else on the mind, except getting some food."
Source: IFL Science
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