Also known as Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat, it lives only in small areas of Thailand and Burma. It is an endangered species, and the only bat of the Craseonycteridae family.
It is the smallest species of bat and arguably the world’s smallest mammal (by cranium size). Colonies range greatly in size, with an average of 100 individuals per cave. They eat insects, hunting them in the evenings and before dawn. Females give birth annually to a single offspring.
Well firstly, how small can mammals get? Well the smallest mammals are:
Etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus):
3 – 5.2 cm
Pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus): 5 - 10cm
Kitti’s hog-nosed or the bumblebee bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai): 2.9-3.3cm
Generally mammals can’t get much smaller then <2cm. It’s all to do with ratios and surface area to volume (this involves alot of math that I can’t easily explain in detail on tumblr and to be honest math was never my strong suit!)
To summarise it, the SA:V ratio is:
smaller animals have more SA compared to their volume therefore they lose energy / heat faster compared to a larger animal that has a big volume compared to the smaller SA. Therefore larger animals are better at thermoregulating and lose energy / heat slower compared to a smaller animal.
This is why smaller vertebrates have to eat a lot of food compared to their volume and why they often have faster heart beats.
This is why invertebrates can be so small compared to vertebrates. Inverts often have simplistic and more “primitive” in some ways morphology and physiology. They often don’t need to maintain heat or energy compared to larger more complex vertebrates.
Here are some websites that go over the concept in much more detail.
15 Mind-Blowing Facts That You Should Read (Part 169)
1. Banks in Switzerland lose money if they don’t lend; at times, customers lose money if they don’t borrow. This is the result of the negative interest rate that the banks maintain.
2. In 2003, a Belgian man stole diamonds, gold, and other jewellery worth $100 million after breaking into a safe that had 100 million possible combinations, and was additionally protected by infrared heat detectors, a seismic sensor, Doppler radar, a magnetic field, and security force. He was arrested because he left a partially eaten sandwich near the crime scene.
3. In 1978, rock band Aerosmith paid approximately $4,200 to bail out every single fan that was arrested when cops invaded the crowd on a pot bust during one of their concerts.
4. The bumblebee bat, also called Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, weighing in at about 2 grams, is not only the world’s smallest bat, but also the world’s smallest mammal in terms of skull size.
5. There is a pen that digitally records everything that you write, sketch or draw on any surface. It also lets you…
Bats are a larger order of mammals known as Chiroptera for the shape and nature of their wing. The word chiroptera comes from the Ancient Greek word χείρ (cheir or chir) meaning hand and πτερόν (pteron) meaning wing because their forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight. Bats do not flap their entire arms like birds, but flap their spread-out fingers which are long and covered with a membrane called a patagium.
Bats are the second largest order of mammals, after the rodents. There are about 1,200 bat species divided into two suborders: the less specialized and largely fruit-eating megabats, or flying foxes, and the highly specialized and echolocating microbats. Bats range in size from the very small Kitti’s hog-nosed bat which measures less than two inches long and less than six inches across the wings to the giant golden crowned flying fox with a six foot wingspan. While the majority of bats are insectivores and another large percentage eat fruit, there are a small number of bats who feed on blood, the vampire bats.
Image of a Mexican long tongued bat courtesy Ken Bosma, used with permission under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.