Honduran White Bats Are Cotton Balls With Piggy Faces Who Sleep In Leaf Tents
Aug. 05, 2020
They're also known as the caribbean white tent-making bat. They live in the rainforests of eastern Honduras, northern Nicaragua, eastern Costa Rica and western Panama. During the day, when they roost, they create tens out of heliconia leaves by cutting along the ridges with their teeth, causing the leaves to fold downwards and create little tents! They sometimes chill solo under their leaves, but they'll often huddle together in groups of up to 15!
These tents don't just keep them out of the sun, though. They also protect them from the rain and from predators . They try to build their tents far enough off the ground so animals like possums and snakes can't get them, and they're covered from the top so owls can't get them either. Meanwhile, they mostly eat fruit. In fact, they try to build their tents in fruit trees so they don't have to go far for food!
If you think these guys look small, well, you'd be right! These bats are tiny . They're around 37–47 mm (1.5–1.9 in) long, and only weigh 5–6 g (0.18–0.21 oz). They aren't the smallest, though, that award goes to the kitti's hog-nosed bat , with a length of 29 to 33 mm (1.1 to 1.3 in) and weight of 2 g (0.071 oz)!
They also host a number of unique qualities. First is their white coats . It's believed that they evolved these white coats for camouflage, as when the sun shines through the green leaves they're hiding under, the white reflects their surroundings around it and makes them appear greener! Then there's their bright orange noses and ears. The color is due to large concentrations of carotenoids (the same thing that gives color to pumpkins, carrots, and lobsters). In fact, "[The honduran white bat] is the first mammal known to have enough carotenoids in its skin to generate conspicuous color."
While they aren't endangered, they are ranked 'near-threatened'. One of their biggest threats is rainforest destruction, the leveling of their natural habitat. Removing the trees they eat from to the plants they live under, their homes are vanishing at a pretty rapid rate. There are ways you can help these little guys though, both by learning more about rainforest deforestation and finding conservation organizations to support.