Bats the size of your thumb

 News 2009 06 Images 090629-Bat-Moth-Thumb-Picture
The two bats above are, er, making love. More interestingly is that each is about the size of a moth and weighs less than 5 grams. Scientists recently discovered the small bat species, called an Aellen's long-fingered bat, in a lava tunnel on an island in Africa's Comoros chain. From National Geographic:
DNA analysis... confirmed the bat as a unique species.

Subsequent genetic tests revealed that the bat is also found on the west coast of the island of Madagascar, said study team member Manuel Ruedi, a curator at the Natural History Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Thumb-Size Bat Found in Lava Tunnel"


  1. I like the Maury Povitch-esque pause (…) before confirming the results of the DNA analysis.

  2. Once, while climbing, I was bitten by a bat. I introduced my hand into a crack in the rock, heard a hissing sound and felt the bite. Startled me enough to retire my hand from the crack at once byt thankfully not enough to fall. On looking inside the crack I found a little bat fellow looking at me with a half frightened half defiant expression on its little bat face.

    It was a very small crack (a bit over fingers width but not full palm size) and the small fellow was solidly wedged into the back of it. It could not have been much bigger than my thumb. Its mouth was so small than it could not pierce my skin (although it left two little clear indentations in it). I did not do any research on the bat. I thought that bats so small where common place but may be this one was a juvenile…

  3. I like bats as long as they stay out of my house.
    That’s not a happy situation for the human or the

    If you’re drunk or sleeping in a room with a bat
    you’re supposed to get a rabies shot, in case you
    might have been bitten without being aware of it.

  4. A few years back, I was on a public bus at night, and some girls started yelling and running back and forth up and down the bus. Turns out there was a very small bat on board, and when it flew to one end, the girls would run back down to the other end.

    It was also about thumb sized, not counting wingspan.

  5. Curses, more scientists creeping about in the entrance to my underground lair (goes to call Black Smoke Monster)…

  6. Either there’s some very large moths around that I’m not aware of, or whoever is writing that article has tiny tiny hands.

  7. i remember as a kid seeing all these tiny1.5″- 2″ bats that had to be scraped off my uncles truck radiator every summer when he returned from his annual vacation in south America, I remember that when I first saw them I mistook them for moths or butterflies until my family pointed out that they were indeed tiny bats. This happened about 20 yrs ago and one thing that realy sticks out in my head to this day was that every year as he brought in his truck to our family owned repair garage I gradualy started seeing less and less if those small bats on his radiator until eventually I saw none. My uncle always drive the same mountain routes and passes and would always tell me of the changes being done to the country sides in Mexico and Guatemala which makes me wonder if I just happened to see another species of animal slowly disapear and become endangered without anyone noticing this.

  8. I’m not sure that this is really that small for a bat- the most common species in the UK is about 40mm in body length, and also weighs around 5g.

    #3, JJR1971:

    Wow, Bat pr0n on BoingBoing….

    jwz’s livejournal featured a scary bat-penis picture last week. I would link to it… but I am at work.

    Incidentally, a friend of mine described his bat detector as a “guaranteed chick magnet”.

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