This gigantic bat was captured on camera by a man filming his camping trip. He’s been missing ever since. Stories like these have been swirling the internet for the past couple of years, with people using pictures and videos to supposedly prove that human-sized bats exist.
But could bats really get that big? How dangerous would they be? And why could we make lots of money off their giant bat poop?
Bats already creep a lot of people out, so imagine how scared they’d be if there were giant ones roaming around. And keep in mind that bats usually live together in groups of 100 to several thousand individuals. So if you run into one of these giant beasts, the chances are that there’d be a whole army of them nearby. Would their natural ecosystems be able to sustain these new oversized bats?
To understand what a world with giant bats would be like, let’s get to know our regular-sized bats first. Because there are so many different bat species, today we’re just going to focus on two, the Flying Fox and the Vampire Bat. Vampire bats have a wingspan of 35-40 cm (1.1-1.3 ft), they can run up to speeds of 1.2m/s (3.9 ft/s), and they really like to drink blood.
They drink so much of it that they can double their weight in just one feeding. So can you imagine how blood-thirsty they would be if they were the size of humans? Luckily for us, bats don’t get any bigger than our next featured player, the Flying Fox. There are 60 Flying Fox species, and the largest one has a wingspan of 1.7 m (5.5 ft).
That might sound like it’s getting almost human-sized, but the body is pretty small, about 30 cm (11.8 in) in length. They have a surprisingly big brain for such a small body, and they’re said to be as intelligent as dogs. So what would life be like if there were millions of human-sized, intelligent, blood-sucking bats roaming around? Well, let’s find out.
Flying Fox bats would need to be six times bigger to become the size of a human. Their new head to toe length would be 170 cm (5.5 ft), their new wingspan would be 10 m (32.8 ft), and their new weight would be 216 kg (476 lb). They would need to eat about 19 kg (41 lb) of fruits each day to sustain themselves.
With this new hunger, they would easily wipe out farms and orchards, and they’d disrupt the entire food chain. And then there’s the Vampire Bat. But don’t worry, they won’t add any more stress to our fruit farms, because they’re only hungry for blood.
Oh, wait. That sounds even worse.
Human-sized vampire bats would be about 170 cm (5.5 ft) long. They’d have a wingspan of 6.8 m (22.3 ft), and a mass of 295 kg (650 lb).
Because of their size, they would be able to drink 34 l (7.5 gallons) of blood per meal. If we want to save our necks, we might need to raise livestock to offer up to the vampire bats.
We just wouldn’t be able to use them for food after, because the vampire bats would probably infect that livestock with rabies. And we wouldn’t only have to worry about feeding these big beasts. We’d also have to worry about where they’re going to live. Usually, bats live in groups of a few hundred to thousands in caves, hollow trees, attics, and barns.
Clearly, human-sized bats wouldn’t all fit into the same amount of space anymore. They might need to create smaller groups, and take over buildings and parks. Their sheer size, food requirements, and bodily functions could damage their new homes. But on the bright side, their bodily functions could also make you rich. Bat excrement, also known as guano, is an effective fertilizer.
It has high amounts of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. And it can be very expensive. Right now, an average bat only releases about 2.5 g (0,005 lb) of guano each year. But with these new human-sized bats eating upwards of 19 kg (41 lb) every day, their guano production will increase dramatically.
So if you’re brave enough to get near these beastly creatures to collect their poop, you could make a lot of money. All you’d have to do next is figure out how to spend it.
- “Common Vampire Bat“. 2011. Nationalgeographic.Com.
- “Bat Facts“. 2020. Smithsonian Institution.
- “Flying Fox – Description, Habitat, Image, Diet, And Interesting Facts“. 2018. Animals Network.
- “Vampire Bat | Mammal“. 2020. Encyclopedia Britannica.
- “How Much Blood Is In The Human Body?“. 2020. Healthline.
- “Quetzalcoatlus, The Largest Flying Animal Of All Time”.sky, A. 2020. Earth Archives.
- “9 Largest Flying Birds In The World | Largest.Org“.Levin, Nancy. 2018. Largest.Org.
- “Encyclopedia Of Caves And Karst Science“. 2020. Google Books.