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Nature & Environment

This real-life 'Jersey Devil' is actually a genuine creature

By T.K. Randall
October 28, 2023 · Comment icon 13 comments
Adult male hammerhead bat.
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 | Comments (13)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Piney 6 months ago
One of Josh Gates' buddies suggested Jersey Devil sightings were one of these.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by Piney 6 months ago
Comment icon #6 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 6 months ago
I can believe it. That is a scary looking creature. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Piney 6 months ago
I think it's adorable. ?
Comment icon #8 Posted by susieice 6 months ago
It looks just like the drawings from eyewitness accounts. Can they be found in the Pine Barrens? Edit: I just saw your reply to Laserburn. Still, it looks just like the drawings. It looks more homely than scary to me. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by Piney 6 months ago
Only if they escaped from one of the many safari parks or exotic pet keeper. Which is likely.  I think you remember one Bigfoot sighting I followed up was a baboon which escaped fom 6 Flags. 
Comment icon #10 Posted by susieice 6 months ago
I did edit after I saw your reply to Laserburn. That poor thing is so homely looking it is adorable.
Comment icon #11 Posted by ercbreeze 6 months ago
How can it be the Jersey Devil--when they aren't found in New Jersey!   Especially when first sited hundreds of years ago. 
Comment icon #12 Posted by Piney 6 months ago
It was only suggested because exotic animals were brought in for wealthy eccentrics in some South Jersey ports. The story of the Jersey Devil itself started out as a satire written by Ben Franklin mocking a witch trial. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by MissJatti 6 months ago
I quickly selected the second link in the OP and quickly glanced what looked like a head of a horse. ops 'Horse Headed Bat'  

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