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Meet The Honduran White Bat – The Flying Little Balls Of Cotton

Meet the Honduran white bat, these tiny little cuties are found in the the rainforests of Central America

Also called the Caribbean white ten-making bat or cotton ball-bats, they grow to a maximum size of only around 5cm.

I Traveled To The Costa Rican Rainforest And Photographed Honduran White Bats (5 Pics)
Supreet Sahoo

They can be found roosting under the Heliconia plant leaves which is where the name ‘tent-making bat’ came from.

I Traveled To The Costa Rican Rainforest And Photographed Honduran White Bats (5 Pics)
Supreet Sahoo

Most of them spend their lives under these leaves, as they are vegetarians, and chew on the rim of the leaf for nutrition.

I Traveled To The Costa Rican Rainforest And Photographed Honduran White Bats (5 Pics)
Supreet Sahoo

Each of these roosts has around 7 bats in them, often found cutely cuddled up with each other.

I Traveled To The Costa Rican Rainforest And Photographed Honduran White Bats (5 Pics)
Supreet Sahoo

The Honduran white bat is near threatened, meaning they are getting more difficult to spot in the wild.

I Traveled To The Costa Rican Rainforest And Photographed Honduran White Bats (5 Pics)
Supreet Sahoo

These stunning photos were taken by talented wildlife photographer Supreet Sahoo, check him out on Instagram and Facebook.

Check out 10 shocking facts about the elusive Honduran White Bats also known as the Ghost bat. 

The Honduran White Bat is one of the rarest bats species on the planet and its distinct characteristics make it stand out in Bat world.

It is extremely cute, and when sleeping it resembles a pure white fluffy cotton ball curled up in your hand. 

LocationCentral America
DietFrugivorous – Eats mainly fruit
Fun FactIts white fur is unique to all bats
Other NamesCaribbean white tent-making bat – Ghost bat
ColorWhite
Life Span15-20 Years
SpeciesEctophylla Alba – Origins from Ancient Greek and Latin Ektos phullon albus means Out Leaf White referring to its very special leaf-shaped nose. 

Here are 9 more astonishing facts about the little-known Honduran White Bat. 

EricksonSmith

1. What do Honduran white bats look like?

Look at this lovely bat that doesn’t look like any other bat you have seen. This bite-sized bat has a sparkling white coat, recognizable yellow ears that look like leaves, and a bright leaf or horn-shaped nose. The Honduran white bat could easily be mistaken for a cuddly mascot and it really comes as a surprise that it’s not more well known. Only one other species of bats have a white coat so it really is special. The color of its coat is not just ascetically pleasing but has a practical use too. 

2. How big is the Honduran white bat?

Never mind handbag Chihuahuas, this tiny fellow could fit in the palm of your hand. The Honduran white bat is one of the smallest in the world and usually measures between just 3.7cm to 4.7cm in length. Blink and you could miss it. 

Charlie Jackson

Did you know this bat is very on-trend and vegan? 

3. What do Honduran white bats eat?

The vegan bat. 

Despite its spooky appearance, this super cute bat is a frugivore, meaning their diets consist mainly of fruit, so it won’t be sucking our blood anytime soon. It particularly enjoys figs, especially from the Ficus Colubrinae tree (special fig tree), and can live off just eating them. No wonder these little guys are so sweet. Scientists believe the highly unique coloring of the Honduran white bat could be due to the extraordinary consumption of these fruits and the resulting carotenoids within the ears, nose, and wings producing the yellow hue. 

4. Where does the Honduran white bat live?

These bats live in the tropical wetlands of the South American sub-continent and are commonly found in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua. They are nocturnal and while these tiny critters may seem like ideal pets, needing little space and care, they would most likely die outside their very particular natural habitat.  Human urban development is one of the biggest threats to these lovely creatures with the resulting degradation in their habitat. 

Flickr: EricksonSmith

5. The Honduran white bat AKA The Caribbean white tent-bat

These bats love a bit of camping but not in the traditional sense. They are often referred to as the Caribbean White tent-making bat, for their ‘tent’-making skills. The bats create a ‘tent’ by cutting the Heliconia palm leaves with their teeth and make an inverted V-shaped canopy. The Honduran white bats then hang themselves in clusters, sometimes as many as twelve bats are under one leaf. They make many of these homes in their colonies to accommodate them and even use a few for feeding. Don’t worry about them falling and hurting themselves, as they are only a few feet from the ground. These tropical plants also aid with coverage, hiding them in the lush rainforest growth, protecting them from inclement weather. 

6. The Honduran white bat is a protected species 

Let’s help them thrive. Sadly there are no exact numbers detailing how few of these special bats remain in the wild but they are classified as a near-threatened species and are very vulnerable to extinction. Currently, there are no targeted conservation programs for them but you can support efforts calling for one here.

7. How long do the Honduran white bats live?

These bats live between 15-20 years and their gestation period is approximately three weeks, only one baby is born with each pregnancy. Not a lot is known about how these bats reproduce yet but we know they are social animals. They huddle and hang together in kinship groups under their tented leaves. Just like horses do, all the bat pups are conceived and born within the same week. 

8.  The Honduran white bat is a master at camouflaging itself

With their bright white coats, one could think these bats are easy prey for local predators. However, their unusual woolly coat can be mistaken for a wasp’s nest putting off any serious hunters. In addition, their fur blends into the environment, either taking on a greenish hue when the sun shines on their home leaves or appearing to be translucent under the sunlight, effectively disguising them. They need to keep very still and often do to make sure they remain camouflaged.

9. The Honduran white bat has a unique way of seeing

It uses echolocation by listening to the sound waves it produces by bouncing high-pitched calls off its surroundings. They then use these waves to create a detailed and compelling picture of their environment. It uses its nose to make the sound and scientists think that its flexible nose structure helps the Honduran white bat to echolate more efficiently.

10. Other reasons why the Honduran white bat is unique to other bats

Unlike most other bats, these unusual creatures do not live in caves, do not fly very far, and keep to an incredibly small square mile range. 

Written by Joe Kahlo