Although these bats appear dangerous, they are delicate creatures attempting to survive deforestation and hunting.

The majestic golden-crowned bat, with wings as broad as Tom Cruise’s, is a truly awe-inspiring sight as it effortlessly flies through the air, its slim and hairy body enhancing the grandeur of its wingspan.

When it roosts and finds refuge, its stretched black cape-like wings give it an intriguing resemblance to a magical vampire.

Despite its intimidating size, this megabat, which survives on a diet of fruits, is a gentle creature with no propensity for hostility or damage toward humans.

Unfortunately, they now face the sad reality of extinction because of human encroachment on their natural habitat and illicit poaching for sport or food.

With their fantastic size and predatory look, these remarkable beings attracted the attention of people worldwide through viral images, eliciting both interest and dread. Initially mislabeled as “human-sized” bats, these incorrect descriptions caused confusion and undue concern.

Before venturing farther into the world of these fantastic animals, specific points must be clarified. Contrary to the inflated claims of their size, these bats cannot be accurately referred to as “human-sized” unless such a term is generously used by comparing them to a “small child” rather than an average adult human.

With a wingspan of roughly 5 feet 6 inches and a body spanning between 7 and 11.4 inches and weighing less than 3 pounds, the enormous golden-crowned bat is one of the world’s largest bat species.

The fig-devouring bat is a nocturnal herbivore that forages at night for roots, fruits, and vegetables. A magnificent, fluffy golden crown crowns its head.

While several species of flying fox megabats are found in Asia, Africa, and Australia, the golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) is a unique denizen of the Philippine jungles, typically living in colonies of up to 10,000 members.

Throughout the day, these bats cling to tree branches, their clawed toes acting as anchors as they sleep peacefully beside their friends. The enormous flying fox, with a wingspan barely exceeding five feet, occasionally sleeps near its smaller relatives, the giant bats.

Unlike many other bats that rely on echolocation, these massive golden-crowned flying foxes use their strong sense of sight and scent to travel through the skies.

The flying fox actively contributes to reforestation efforts in the Philippines by dispersing fig seeds after eating them, heroically combating the relentless forces of deforestation.

Unfortunately, the same people they aim to save endanger their diligent efforts. According to Bat Conservation International (BCI), 90% of the country’s old forests have been devastated, causing the species to disappear from various islands where they once sought refuge.

The population of golden-crowned bats has been rapidly declining since 1986, with a 50% decrease documented during this time. The chief factors driving this reduction are the degradation of their natural habitat and relentless killing for recreational, commercial, and personal consumption.

As a result, they have been designated as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Despite the presence of the Philippine Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001, which was created to protect bats, its enforcement could be better.

Although most of these creatures seek sanctuary within protected areas, they are subjected to mass murder. Hunters target helpless animals while they are sleeping, engaging in the brutal and awful act of shooting them.