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Expert dismisses 'giant bat' photo as fake

13:00 Thu Mar 22 2012
By Martin Zavan, MSN NZ

A leading bat expert says an image circulating on the internet of what appears to be an enormous bat found in the Philippines is a deceptive fake.

Director of the Australian Bat Clinic, Trish Wimberley, said that while some species of bats can have wingspans that stretch up to 1.7m, no bat could grow to the size shown in the picture.

She said the image was likely doctored or taken from a perspective to make the bat appear larger than it actually is. "You only need to look at the knife above the picture to see the proportion of the bat to the proportion of the knife," Ms Wimberley said.

"It’s like when you catch a fish, if you hold it in front of you it looks gigantic." A species of bat known as the giant golden-crowned flying fox or golden-capped fruit bat is found in the Philippines and can grow a wingspan as large as 1.7m, but the animal that appears in the photo does not have golden coloured fur on its head.

Ms Wemberley suggested the animal pictured could be a Malaysian flying fox, also known as the vampire bat, which can grow a wingspan of up to 1.5m.

"If you’re lucky they can get to 1.1kg," Ms Wemberley said.

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