Episode 217 – Honduran White Bat: Tent Makers

“…and today we’re talking about lipstick?! In my Honduran white bat?!”

The apostle Paul was known as a tent-maker, which could mean that he created a shelter of hope for the gentiles in the first century. It could also mean that he created actual tents since it costs money to travel the known world. Probably both. But there’s one creature that doesn’t use tent-making as a side hustle – the Honduran White Bat. When you’re a tiny bat in a big world, you gotta use what you got to survive here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.


  • The hoduran white bat looks like an ice flying type, or perhaps a marshmallow with wings.
  • If bats are dark creatures of the night, honduran white bats are adorable fluffy creatures of the night.
  • Picture a white cotton ball. Give it black wings and feet. Then stick a big pair of bright yellow ears and a large leaf-nose on it. 
  • The leaf-nose is thought to aid in echo-location.
  • They also have adorable shiny, little, black, stuffed animal eyes.

Measure Up

Welcome to the beloved Measure Up segment. The official listener’s favorite part of the show! The part of the show when we present the animal’s size and dimension in relatable terms through a quiz that’s fun for the whole family. It’s also the part of the show that’s introduced by you when you send in audio of yourself saying, singing, or chittering the words Measure Up into ldtaxonomy at gmail dot com. We don’t have a new Measure Up intro! 

  1. Elephant Seal
  2. Canadian Goose
  3. Shetland Pony
  4. Bactrian Camel

Body length

  • 37–47 mm (1.5–1.9 in)
  • How many honduran white bats go into the length of the longest motorable highway?
  • Hint: The pan-American Highway Goes from Alaska to Argentina, and passes through bat country (not the Avenged-Sevenfold song).
  • 500,210,526 bats. The Pan-American Highway is 24,140 km (15,000 miles).


  • 5–6 g (0.18–0.21 oz)
  • How many Lempira de cinco centavos go into the weight of a honduran white bat?
  • Hint: Lempira is the currency of Honduras. It’s worth 0.041 US dollars and 0.031 pound sterling. 
  • About one. A five cent piece of Lempira is 5 grams.

Fast Facts

Honduran white bats live in South America, specifically in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. They prefer forested areas with large leaf tropical plants. 

They are frugivores and eat specific figs almost exclusively. In fact, it’s one of the two smallest fruit eating bats in the world, along with the little white-shouldered bat. If you’re looking for one of these kushballs, your best bet is to find a high quality fig tree that produces a lot of figs at once. 

They are eaten by the snakes and monkeys that are native to their areas.

The bat is fairly modest in that very little is known about its reproductive habits. 

Major Fact: Tent Makers

  • So you may think of bats as cave dwellers, right?
  • Well, some like to be out in the field rather than at home base – or rather they make their home base wherever they go
  • So they’re more nomadic than your average bat
  • They look for the large leaves of heliconias (like birds of paradise or banana plants) to huddle under
  • While they offer protection from above, the leaves don’t do much for the sides
  • That’s why the bat will form the leaf into a makeshift tent to cover the sides and protect them from the weather as well as unfriendly eyes
  • They do this by biting the midrib veins of the leaf – those little rods that extend outward from the main center ridge.
    • This causes the sides of the leaf for fold over on either side, like a canvas draped over a horizontal pole – a tentpole, if you will
  • The bats then cling to the underside of the ridge and use the sides as protection
  • There can be groups of up to 15 bats living under one leaf
  • However, this kills the leaves eventually and so they need to relocate every 8 weeks or so.
  • As sunlight passes through the leaf, it colors their white fur so that they appear green and blend in –  a sort of de facto camouflage

Ending: So stay smol, stay hidden, and turn your leaves into tents during survival situations like Bear Gryllis – I mean, the Honduran White Bat here in LDT.