Ancient Temple Reveals Secrets of Mexico’s Meat-Eating Bats

These rare, mysterious carnivores aren’t after insects or blood: They want rodents, songbirds, and even other bats.

They hang from the cold, stone ceiling of an ancient Maya temple like a bunch of fuzzy grayfruits, staring down at us witheyes that shine golden in the red glow of our headlamps.

The toothy, hungry bats have long, nearly transparent bunny-like ears and wrinkled, wolfy faces with a lance-shaped nose leaf—an appendage that bats use for echolocation—on top of their snouts.

These mysterious bats just outside the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, in the Yucatán Peninsula, don’t roost in the thousands like some other species, said Rodrigo Medellín, the country’s leading expert on the flying mammals and a professor at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City. “They’re always in these small groups—they’re very protective of one another.”

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