Kitti’s Hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai), named in the honor of one of the zoologists who discovered it in the 1970’s, is a very small animal indeed. In fact, it is the smallest bat and the smallest mammal known to us. It also the only remaining species in it’s family of Craseonycteridae. Apart from being obviously different for other bats, the family has no known fossils, so we cannot know the exact relationships to other bat species.
As the name suggests, it has a pig-like snout and rather an ugly appearance. It weighs about half an ounce and measures about an inch in length. Unlike other bats, they are red in color with the underside a lighter shade. Despite their diminutive size, they have very powerful legs and claws. They are shaped in such a way as to make it easy for the bat to hand upside down with the minimum of effort.
The wings are large and darker in color, with long tips. These tips allow them to hover, much like a hummingbird does. The small feet are interconnected with a large piece of skin (called uropatagium) that is believed to assist them in flying and catching insects. The species has no tail bones or calcars for flight control.
The Kitti’s hog nosed bat eats insects and spiders and usually in flight. This gives a whole new meaning to fast food! It is diurnal (being most active at sunset and sunrise) and comes our for half an hour after and before sunrise. They live in very small colonies of between 15 to 100 individuals in limestone caves. This very tiny bat is found only in a small areas in Myanmar and Thailand.
Mating for the Kitti’s Hog–nosed Bat takes place in late winter. Females have the very, very tiny kits in late spring and they will cling to the mother all the time for a couple of months.
They are listed as endangered by the IUCN because their distribution is in a small ranges, in both Myanmar and Thailand. They are also in quite some danger to due human habitat destruction.
Nevertheless, they are cute creatures and if they were not so endangered, would perhaps make for very cute pets.