The Bumblebee Bat

The bumblebee bat is also known as Kitti's Hog-Nosed bat, named after the zoologist who first discovered this species in Thailand in 1973 (Kitti Thonglongya).

Both these names give you clues about its appearance. It's one of the tiniest known bats, reaching 29 to 31 mm in length when fully grown. It also has a dinky nose that looks very much like a pig's.

Unlike bumblebees, they're either reddish brown or grey in colour.

Their small eyes and big ears tell you that they use echolocation to find their insect prey.

And their broad wings with long tips indicate that they not only snatch insects out of the air but also feed off them as they settle on surfaces like leaves. (Broad wings aid hovering.)

Like most other bat species, they only have one baby (also known as a pup) a year.

Kitti's Hog-Nosed bats are limestone cave dwellers and up until pretty recently, it was thought that they only lived in Thailand. In 2001, some were found in Myanmar. The two populations are identical in every way apart from their echolocation calls which are different.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishes data called the red list, which details the conservation status of different species. Sadly, Kitti's Hog-Nosed bat is currently classed as vulnerable.

This means that the species is expected to decrease by 10% over the next decade. The main threat is roost disturbance through activities such as the collection of bat poop for fertilizer.

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