Actually it's called a Honduran white bat, and as its name suggests, they are neither dingy black nor mottled brown like the majority of their flittering ilk. Their particular look appears to have evolved not in order to become one with the darkness but rather to emulate the poofy balls found on tennis socks. These aren't snow bats or anything -- their cheerily white fur doesn't help them blend in with anything whatsoever in the jungles where they live. But it's definitely a selling point for the people who make a living offering plush novelty bat brooches for sale on Etsy.
Convince passersby to "give him a sniff," and then depress the bulb that sprays their face with guano.
Bats can be terrifying even when they're asleep. Most of them dangle upside-down in dank caverns, probably gnashing and screeching at one another constantly so they can secure enough real estate to shake the nightly harvest of human viscera off their leathery monster wings. Honduran white bats, on the other hand, prefer to sleep outdoors, building adorable little tents out of leaves where bunches of them all squeeze together to snuggle. For that extra dash of whimsy, they'll chew on the veins of the leaves and pull the sides together so the whole thing looks like an upside-down boat.
They instinctively wake every day at 11 a.m. to watch Bubble Guppies.
Even a weird, overly fleshy nose seems somehow charming on Ectophylla alba, where on any other kind of bat it would send us scurrying for a lighter, some kerosene, and a wide method of dispersal. And no, they aren't just being cute to lull you into a false sense of security. There are no toxic, razor-sharp raptorial dewclaws or Ebola-spraying fangs underneath all the cuteness. They are absolutely harmless, and quite frankly a complete and total embarrassment to the entire Halloween animal community.
But maybe you find that nose somewhat off-putting and still feel the Honduran white bat is a little intimidating. Well, pull yourself together there, Sweet Susie, because there's exactly one other white bat in the world, and he may be even less threatening than the Honduran version. The northern ghost bat is also tiny, looks arguably cuter, and probably wants nothing more than to nuzzle your face before sinking his tiny teeth into your cheek to fill it up with rabies.
Science should probably file them separately under "buttergerbils" or something,
just to spare all the other bats from the mockery of their peers.
E. Reid Ross also slanders dogs over at Man Cave Daily. Feel free to follow him on Twitter here.
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