io9 posted a picture from Reddit of what appears to be a vampiric giant bat. Dead. It was soon revealed that this is a flying fox, a fruit eater, NOT a monster. And we are sad that this lovely amazing creature is dead.
Redditor treemonkey18 posted this image with the simple quote: “My Friend woke up to this thing fighting his dogs (Yes i’m from Australia).” UPDATE: The redditor later added that, “He [the friend] didn’t kill it the dog did, he is just holding it wit a stick because he didn’t want to touch it.”
As soon as I saw this, I immediately went to @bat_whisperer on Twitter to get the scoop. Sure enough, she says, this was a grey headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), the largest native megabat in Australia. Io9 gets an earful and they apologize. I think everyone got the point on this but it will still be passed around as some “monster” when it is nothing of the sort.
There is still uncertainty if the picture is real but it’s certainly suffering from some forced perspective that makes it look huge. But these animals are large.
This type of bat is reminiscent of the monsters I describe in this piece about prehistoric survivors. Ignorance, not monsters.
I am very sad. I love bats. At least we can get this passed around to educate people that lovely flying mammals exist in the world to help pollinate and spread seeds. They are important and they are threatened. Human ignorance is no excuse.