For years, many have referred to bats as a “flying fox.” These nighttime furry mammals, who are known as denizens of the sky, often do admittedly appear somewhat like canines frequently. However, there was one fruit bat that has hit the internet, and it oddly, at the same time, adorably bears more than a simple passing resemblance.
In fact, this bat looks just like a dog—with wings.
A Queen Mary University of London postdoctoral research associate, Nicolas Nesi, studies the evolution through time of fruit bats. While hard at work on his Ph.D. thesis, in 2009, in the region of the lowlands of West Africa, Nesi came across something amazing.
It was there that he discovered a Buettikofer’s epauletted bat, a member of a very striking species. On top of that, this proved to be the most impressive specimen he had ever seen—and it was just as nature had intended it to be.
Nesi, speaking on the discovery, said:
“He looks to have a dog head because this is an adult male specimen. Adult males have a large snout with large lips (that look like a dog’s).”
Nesi also noted that with a male from the species, there are epaulettes, in the form of long white hair, that encircle the scent glands located on their shoulders. These epaulettes are used in various ways, as they can appear puffed out or retracted close to the bat’s body. They are also believed to be used in the act of attraction of potential mates.
The epaulettes are what add to the overall fluffy appearance that gives the bats a dog-like appearance. The epaulettes are so convincing, that many have had trouble believing that the specimen is a bat, let alone actually real. Nesi has commented that, since he works with the species, he is not so amazed as others, but can understand why many might argue the photos are photoshopped.