You will be surprised when you find out just how small the smallest species of bat is, compared to other bats in the animal kingdom. The smallest bat in the world is no secret, and its name is quite fitting. It is the Bumblebee bat, and it is quite an interesting mammal to learn about. That’s right; bats are mammals. And there are even more fascinating facts to come as you continue reading about Bumblebee bats in this article.
The Bumblebee bat is also known as Kitti’s Hog-Nosed bat, and scientifically referred to as Craseonycteris thonglongyai. They are members of the Chordata Phylum, the Chiroptera Order, and the only extant species in the Craseonycteridae family. Here is their scientific classification:
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Mammalia
Order – Chiroptera
Family – Craseonycteridae
Genus – Craseonycteris
Species – C. thonglongyai
Let’s get straight to their description: they are tiny! They are the smallest species of bat in the Chiroptera Order. Adults range in size between 1.1 and 1.3 inches in length and under 2 grams. Depending on the definition of “size” used, they could easily be the tiniest species of mammal!
Their bodies are covered in a thick fur, usually reddish-brown in color. And their wings are generally darker in color. They get their “hog-nosed” moniker from their enlarged, pig-like snout and vertical nostrils. Although their eyes are small and hardly visible underneath their fur, their ears are large and wide. Aside from their distinctive hog-nosed trait, they do not have visible tails either.
Habitat and Diet
Bumblebee bats live in limestone caves, along riverbeds surrounded by evergreen and deciduous forests in Burma and Thailand. They live in large populations, generally 100 bats per colony, and spend under an hour each day away from their roosts. They typically leave the roost early in the morning for an average of 20 minutes, and again at dusk for an average of 30 minutes. During this time, they are hunting for food. Like most Microchiroptera, Bumblebee bats are echo-locating insectivores whose diet mainly consists of small insects. They eat mostly flies, and use echolocation to catch them mid-flight!
Mating and Gestation
Mating season for Bumblebee bats is in the early spring. By late spring, females generally give birth to only one or two babies, called pups. They stay with their mother until they reach 6 to 8 weeks old, and can live up to 20 years or more. It is common for microbats to give birth to multiple litters per season.