These Bats Look Terrifying – But Their Story Is Not As They Appear

A viral photo of a Philippine bat that looks human-sized has alarmed social media users. The camera angle and framing distort the bat’s size, but the image is real. The huge golden-crowned flying fox is about a foot tall and has a wingspan of 5.5 feet. Twitter user @AlexJoestar622 joked, “Remember when I told y’all about the Philippines having human-sized bats? Yes, I meant this.”

The photo employs forced perspective, a technique manipulating the viewpoint to distort an object’s size. This technique isn’t new and has been used in various contexts like in the Lord of the Rings films.

Beyond the viral image, a more pressing issue exists. The golden-crowned flying fox is an endangered species threatened by deforestation and poaching. They are herbivorous and pose no threat to humans, primarily feeding on figs and leaves.

These bats are native to the Philippines and are already declining, with one of their three subspecies now extinct. The photo’s widespread attention should refocus on the critical need for conservation efforts.

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