Does a human sized bat exist? Viral Twitter picture of a golden crowned flying fox bat from the Philippines explained

The picture has caused a stir online, with people freaking out over the thought of a bat the size of a human

The picture has had people freaking out on social media (Photo: @AlexJoestar622)

The world boasts some truly amazing creatures, but has a viral tweet revealed a human-sized bat that really exists?

This is everything you need to know.

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What’s the picture?

Twitter user @AlexJoestar622 posted an image of a gigantic bat, writing in the caption: “Remember when I told y’all about the Philippines having human sized bats? Yeah, this is what I was talking about.”

The picture shows a seemingly huge bat wrapped up in its wings hanging upside down outside someone’s house.

The tweet, which was posted on 24 June, has garnered over 270k likes and 109k retweets.

This isn’t the first time that the image of this bat has made the rounds on social media - it was first posted to the Nature Is Metal section of Reddit on 9 August 2018.

Is the bat really gigantic?

The image posted of the bat is completely real, with no photoshop magic involved.

But while social media users were horrified by the picture, there might be more to it than meets the eye.

While the bat is bigger than what we’re used to in the UK, some forced perspective is successful in making it look a lot larger.

The bat in question is a giant golden crowned flying fox, the body of which is only around one foot tall - about the same size as a small dog.

The “human sized” description may have people confused: while the bat is not the same height as a human, its wingspan can reach up to about five-and-a-half feet wide.

The flying fox is one of the largest species of bat in the world and is native to the Philippines, where it is currently classified as endangered as a result of deforestation and poaching for food.

The bat itself is completely herbivorous, mainly sticking to eating figs and occasionally leaves.

How did people react online?

Replying to the original tweet about the bat, social media users were equally horrified and intrigued.

One user wrote: “Just imagine this bat waking up and flying straight at you. I’d leave the country.”

Another tweeted: “This bat is taller than me and I’m both horrified and impressed in equal measure.”

“These bats are adorable, fruit-eating sky-puppies who deserve all of our love and support,” wrote another.

Another Twitter user from the Philippines weighed in to calm some of those that were freaked out by the images, writing: “Heya, from the Philippines here. I can confirm this, they have a huuuuuge wingspan but the bodies are not really that big, more or less like the same body as a medium (bit smaller) sized dog. And yeah they only eat fruits, guavas most particularly. They're really gentle too.”

Are there giant bats in the UK?

If bats aren’t really your thing and the thought of one with a wingspan of almost six feet has you feeling uneasy, the good news is that the varieties of bats we have in the UK are nothing near the size of the giant golden crowned flying fox.

In Britain, the biggest bat we have is the greater mouse-eared bat, according to the National Trust.

This bat is only known to reside near the south coast.

The greater mouse-eared bat has a wingspan of about 40cm - for comparison, the giant golden crowned flying fox has a wingspan of around 182cm.