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Fact Check: Viral Photos of Cute 'Albino Bat' on Social Media is a Stuffed Toy

 Facebook screengrab / AFP

Facebook screengrab / AFP

The 'albino bat' shown in the viral photos is a toy but there are two real species of pure bats in South America. The Honduran White Bat also called the Caribbean white tent-making bats.

For the past few days, photos of a ‘baby albino bat’ have caught the attention of netizens and animal lovers around the world. The photos show the supposed animal, with big, round eyes with pink ears, a fluffy body, cuddling up to a person in a forest.

Described as a ‘baby albino bat’, it appears as a picture-perfect creature that is awe-inspiring, to say the least. The four photos have been shared thousands of times in various social media posts with claims that it shows a real albino bat. But it turns out the cuteness is too good to be true.

Fact-checkers have now debunked the claims and said the ‘animal’ is actually a stuffed toy called the ‘baby albino vampire plushie’. The photos of the ‘animal’ have popped up on several social media accounts since 2020. But it was first shared on Facebook with a description that it is ‘one of the most scarce [bats] in the world…’

The post garnered hundreds of shares and the photos were widely distributed on other social media platforms as well. A reverse image search by Africa Check revealed that the photos are of a toy, that was found on a website named AliceShop and described as a ‘plush bat’ that ‘looks very realistic.’

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“The wings can be left straight out, or folded to pose the bat in a more upright position. The wings are not stiff but can be used to pose the bat,” the description adds.

Are white bats real?

The ‘albino bat’ shown in the viral photos is a toy but there are two real species of pure bats in South America. The Honduran White Bat also called the Caribbean white tent-making bat, is a member of the genus Ectophylla. The mammal has an entirely white fur and is only found in six of roughly 1,3000 known species of bat.

It is found in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and western Panama at elevations from sea level to 700 m. The other white bat is the Northern Ghost Bat, a species that is native to South America, Trinidad, and Central America. The mammal is completely white with an unusual sac at the base of its tail. They’re found in tropical and coastal forests, caves, and palm trees.

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first published:June 30, 2021, 16:47 IST