H. monstrosus Female Skull Replica measures 2.3×1.3x 1.0 inches. H. monstrosus Male Skull is 2.11 in. & museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in USA. 2-part skull (separate cranium and jaw). Cast of an original California Academy of Sciences specimen. Known as Hammer Headed Bat

The H. monstrosus is a megabat widely distributed in equatorial Africa. This large bat is found in riverine forests, mangroves, swamps, and palm forests at elevations less than 5,900 ft.

The hammer-headed bat is the largest bat in mainland Africa. Males have wingspans up to 2.96 ft., and all individuals have forearm lengths exceeding 4.4 in. It has pronounced sexual dimorphism, more so than any other bat species in the world.

The H. monstrosus skull is larger and more robust than any other megabat in Africa, with a pronounced, massive snout. The tongue is large and powerful, with an expanded, tridentate tip. The tongue has backwards-facing papillae used to extract juice from fruits.

Pelage is grey-brown to slaty-brown with a whitish collar of fur extending from shoulder to shoulder. The flight membranes are brown and the ears are dark brown with a tuft of white fur at the base. The face is dark brown with a few long, stiff whiskers around the mouth.

The H. monstrosus skull may be diagnosed by specific dental features. The second premolar and molars are markedly lobed. This feature is specific for this genus, and no other African fruit bats have this characteristic.

The H. monstrosus are are frugivores. Figs make up much of their diet, but they may also include mangos, bananas and guavas.

The fruit is picked and taken to a nearby tree where it is chewed, the juice squeezed out and the pulp discarded. There are complications inherent in a fruit diet such as insufficient protein intake. Fruit bats compensate for this by possessing a proportionally longer intestine compared to insectivorous species.

The H. monstrosus are nocturnal, roosting during the day in the forest canopy.

The H. monstrosus rely on camouflage to hide them from predators. Specific species of trees are not selected for roosting, however some roosts may be used for long periods of time. Roosts are 70 to 100 ft. from the ground.

The H. monstrosus is sometimes considered a pest due to its frugivorous diet and its extremely loud honking noises at night. In Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is consumed as bushmeat.

It has been investigated as a potential reservoir of the Ebola virus, with several testing positive for antibodies against the virus. It is not considered a species of conservation concern due to its large range and presumably large population size.

As a frugivorous species, the hammer-headed bat is sometimes considered a pest of fruit crops. Its ability to produce extremely loud vocalizations means that some consider it one of Africa’s most significant nocturnal pests.

Humans hunt this large bat and consume it as bushmeat. It is eaten in Nigeria, as well as seasonally in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.