Length: 11 inches
Wingspan: 20 inches
Weight: 4 - 8 ounces
- Male: Brown-grey fur on body, rusty brown face and ears, red arms, legs and tail. Wings are translucent, with veins visible when a background light shines through them.
- Female: Brown fur on body (back may have a tan patch), stony grey face, black ears, tan wings. Wings are translucent, with veins visible when a background light shines through them.
- Juvenile (both sexes): Lighter version of female.
Diet: Insects, but males and females will consume blood when the female is gestating young.
Preferred Habitat: Woodlands.
Social Structure: Hunts solitary, but roosts in vast numbers, sometimes in their hundreds.
Icaronycteris is a medium-sized primitive bat. Both its thumb and forefinger are free of wing membrane and end in hooked claws, used for clinging upside down on the ceilings of its subterranean homes. Icaronycteris' tail is long and rodent-like, as opposed to the short tails as seen in more advanced bats.
Unlike extant bats, for Icaronycteris the term "as blind as a bat" is almost certainly true. To make up for its poor eyesight, Icaronycteris uses a weak form of echolocation in conjunction with an advanced sense smell to help guide it around obstacles and detect prey. A nocturnal insectivore, Icaronycteris leaves its dark dwellings (often caves, large hollows in trees, or the rafters of abandoned structures) to hunt prey. The bat is able to consume half its body-weight in insects each night.
Icaronycteris is highly colonial, and live in vast numbers. During the breeding season, Icaronycteris males appease the females by attempting to bring the largest numbers of caught insects, which they then chew up and regurgitate for the female. If the female is impressed by amount of food the male brings her, she will allow the male to mate with her. Breeding pairs are not monogamous and partnerships do not last lifetimes.
Pregnant females crave blood. The male will land on large, unwitting animals and use two pairs of sharp fangs at the front of its jaws to pierce the skin before lapping up the blood, which he will then regurgitate for the female. Once the litter of bats are born (normally one or two), the male usually does not stay to take care of the offspring. However, it is not unheard of for the male to stay near to the female for as long as she will allow, although this is rare as males - having grown accustomed to a diet of solely blood - have sometimes been known to consume their offspring before weaning themselves back onto insects.
The baby bat(s) will cling to their mother's belly and suckle milk for the first few weeks of its life.