According to research, one of the world's biggest known bats is the Bismarck flying fox, an animal that never gets larger than six feet from wingtip to wingtip. Many reported sightings suggest that this might not be the case, that even larger bat species exist. The island of Java, not very far from the Bismark flying fox's home of New Guinea, is rumored to harbor a bat species with a twelve-foot wingspan known as the 'Ahool'. It is described as having gray fur and a flattened face with huge black eyes. Some say that its head is monkey-like in appearance. It is not attributed with supernatural powers, and seems like such a plausible animal that it has drawn the attention of naturalists.
Another plausible place for an undiscovered giant bat to live is Cameroon, a country in Africa where scientists have reported seeing a very similar bat. This creature is apparently called the olitiau by locals (but this might just be a curse word). It also has a twelve-foot wingspan and a monkey-like face, but its fur is pure black. It is regarded with a great deal of superstition and fear. It is not improbable that both of these bats might have monkey-like faces. Bats have a notoriously wide variety of head shapes, and many known species have heads resembling different animals such as foxes, dogs, lemurs or even horses!
Another possible African giant bat is the kongamato, which has also been interpreted as a pterosaur by some cryptozoologists. This creature is not quite so large, has reddish fur, and has a long snout instead of a flattened face. Madagascar, a large island just off the coast of Africa, has tales about a bat called the Fangalabolo, with a wingspan of five feet or larger, bigger than any other bat species known to live in Madagascar. The Guiafairo of Senegal is described as being a giant bat that is foul-smelling and often breaking into homes. It is hated very much, and its name translates to "the fear that flies by night." The mlularuka of Tanzania is perhaps the most tame and ordinary of undiscovered African bats. Like known species of giant bats, it is a herbivore that mainly consumes fruit, and thus is mainly spoken of as a pest to agriculture. It is described as being the size of a dog.
Other giant bat reports sound less plausible and shade off into an area where it is nearly impossible to separate the few facts that might exist from the masses of folklore and the paranormal that these alleged facts are buried in. One such creature is the sasabonsam from Ghana, Africa. Depicted in folklore as a bearded human with bat wings. The one known body was described as being far less human than the legends say. The body and only existing photograph are reported to have been lost. It was a large, bat-like animal with a twenty-foot wingspan and stiff black-and-white spotted fur. It had massive teeth and heavy ridges over its eyes.
The Indonesian orang-bati is even more mythical. These human/bat monsters live in an extinct volcano on the island of Seram and abduct children.
Giant vampire bat reports are generally kept separate from giant bat reports, mainly because the giant vampire bat is large for a vampire bat, but still medium-sized when compared to bats in general.