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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Re: Giant Bat Photo

The giant bat photo in this case was posted on this blog recently:
I have found two or three denials that the bat in the photo posted on a recent blog was genuine. This is the most recent one, from one of the standard news services:

Expert dismisses 'giant bat' photo as fake

A leading Australian bat expert says an image circulating on the internet of what appears to be an enormous bat found in the Philippines is a deceptive fake.

Director of the Australian Bat Clinic, Trish Wimberley, said that while some species of bats can have wingspans that stretch up to 1.7m, no bat could grow to the size shown in the picture.

She said the image was likely doctored or taken from a perspective to make the bat appear larger than it actually is. "You only need to look at the knife above the picture to see the proportion of the bat to the proportion of the knife," Ms Wimberley said.

"It’s like when you catch a fish, if you hold it in front of you it looks gigantic." A species of bat known as the giant golden-crowned flying fox or golden-capped fruit bat is found in the Philippines and can grow a wingspan as large as 1.7m, but the animal that appears in the photo does not have golden coloured fur on its head.

Ms Wemberley suggested the animal pictured could be a Malaysian flying fox, also known as the vampire bat, which can grow a wingspan of up to 1.5m.

"If you’re lucky they can get to 1.1kg," Ms Wemberley said.

--OK, so Ms Wemberly is not really adding anything new to the matter. She has not offered any positive identification as to the species of bat illustrated and in fact she pulls a couple of blunders. The bat usually called the "Vampire Bat" in this area is the Old world false vampire bat and it is not a flying fox. She simply makes the negative assertion that "no bat could get that big" (there is no intrinsic reason why you could not have any bats as large as the largest Pterosaurs) There is also the comment that the bat in the picture is NOT the common golden-crowned flying fox known in the Philippines (I have seen that bat given as the culprit more than once elsewhere. Good to know that has been ruled out) and she once again says "You need only look at the dagger to know the scale is off". Well, no, there are knives and there are daggers and there are swords, and unless you have a positive ID on the design of this one in particular, using that statement as an indicator as to scale is pretty much useless. Besides, there is the possibility that the object is a painted wood sign and not a knife at all (The bat is supposed to be a vampire and a wooden stake is what you need to kill a vampire: I assume that is why the object is placed above the bat's head, as a threat to the vampire spirit) So despite the fact there has been an official denunciation of the photo, nothing is really established yet except that the bat is NOT of the common flying fox species to be expected in that area. The photo probably does employ an ambiguous perspective, but we pretty much know that it does not go with the more recessed background people and objects but is instead more in the foreground. OK, even allowing that part, it is STILL an enormous bat of unidentified species.

Best Wishes, Dale D.


  1. Except for a Pterosaur is a fucking extinct reptile.

  2. Riiiiight
    And your point is?

    In this instance you are posting a comment on a bog entry clearly labelled "Re: Giant Bat Photo" and which ends with the statement it is clearly still a bat.

    So what earthly relevance is your statement supposed to have to the discussion? Mind you, if I find our reply is abusive in tone you'll never get your next comment through here.

  3. To Ethan R who refuses to drop the issue: we are not concerned here whether the photo is an authentic picture of a giant bat. We are concerned with the fact that bat experts cannot recognise the species. Size is NOT the issue. Say that over and over again until it sinks in. And kindly remember that vulgar, insulting or abusive language will only result in your message getting deleted. As it was in this instance.

  4. I have another anonymous message from some stupid bugger that won't give up. I shall once again give it to you directly so that you can understand what I am saying. It does not mean a single thing from a zoological point of view if the photo is faked, has forced perspective or whatever. What matters is that the species of bat is unknown , is not the candidate bat usually named, is not recognisable by the local experts on bats, and thus warrants further study. Now once again I must remind you, I have every right NOT to post your obscene, insulting and abusive rantings on my blog, in particular because you do not sign your name to your messages, and furthermore I have every reason to believe you are stinking drunk. Go home and sleep it off!


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