AN incredible photo showing a terrifying human-sized bat is not fake – though still may not be quite as it seems.
The image shows a giant golden-crowned flying fox, a bat species native to the Philippines, and is taken from a perspective that exaggerates the animal's already impressive size.
The species is one of the largest in the world, with some individuals weighing up to 1.4kg.
It has a typical wingspan of around five feet and a forearm of 8.5 inches, the longest documented forearm length of any bat species.
The picture was posted to twitter by user @AlexJoestar622.
"Remember when I told y’all about the Philippines having human-sized bats?" he wrote.
"Yeah, this was what I was talking about."
Social media users reacted with a mix of terror and disbelief to the image.
"OMG the Filipino human-sized flying bat," one wrote.
"At first I thought it was a costume."
Another wrote simply: "HELL NO"
The user who posted the image later clarified that the term "human-sized" referred to the bat's wingspan compared to a person's height.
"I don't want y'all to get scared of bats," he wrote.
Others pointed out that the species is "really gentle" and primarily lives on fruits, particularly guavas and figs.
The bats usually forage for food at night and sleep during the day, usually hanging from tree roosts.
Since the giant golden-crowned flying fox was first described in 1831, three subspecies have been recognised, one of which is now extinct.
The species as a whole is now considered endangered owing to deforestation and the fact it has been targeted by poachers for its meat.
Populations are thought to have declined by more than 50 percent between 1986 and 2016.
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