5. Golden Flying Fox
The golden-crowned flying fox, also called the “golden-capped fruit bat,” is a species of megabat native to the Philipines. Being one of the largest bat species in the world, the flying fox weighs 1.4 kg on average. The Indian species of flying fox could weigh more.
The golden flying fox is frugivorous; that is, it eats several kinds of figs as a basic diet. They can also eat leaves of several plants and trees, if not figs. The females reproduce one pup at a time, mostly in April through June. The megabat golden-crowned flying foxes are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and forage at night.
Recently, a picture of a human-sized bat spotted in Philipines freaked out many people on social media. This fruit bat was photographed in the backyard of a couple a few years ago. The bat looks similar to the size of a human due to the camera angle.
It is not as huge as it appears, say experts. In the largest of the species, the wingspan of the mammal might reach up to 1.7 meters, but the size of their body remains small – barely 30 centimeters. (1, 2)
6. Dik-Dik Antelopes
Dik-dik or zik-zik is the dwarf antelope. They live in the bushlands of eastern and southern Africa. They grow up to a height of 30–40 centimeters. Though they are short in height, they have long, thin legs.
The average life span of a dik-dik is around ten years. They get their name from the shrill and whistling alarm sound the female make. As they are tiny, they are very worried about predators. They use their unique alarm sound to alert fellow dik-diks from predators. They weigh 2-7 kg on average.
They seek shelter in low-level thickets to save themselves from predators. When scared, they run at a speed of 40 kph in a zig-zag pattern to reach the nearest thicket. They are monogamous.
They raise their offspring together but throw them out of their territory once they reach adulthood. Dik-diks bury their heads in the sand to release a sticky liquid from a black spot beside their eyes to mark their territory. (1, 2)
7. Helmeted Hornbill
Biologically known as Rhinoplax vigil, the helmeted hornbill is one of the largest birds in the hornbill family. It has a large, helmetlike structure on its head that accounts for 11% of its body weight.
Found in the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Myanmar, Sumatra, and Borneo, a helmeted hornbill weighs 3 kg on average. Punan Bah, an ethnic group from Southeast Asia, believes that helmeted hornbills guard the river between life and death.
The helmeted hornbill is, however, facing a threat due to poaching. Poachers hunt the large bird for its huge casque. The tough helmet is softer than ivory (elephant’s tusk), so, it can be easily carved into beads, figurines, and artistic scenes.
8. Golden Horse
Akhal-Teke, the golden horse, belongs to the Turkmen horse breed. They are known for their impressive speed, endurance, and intelligence, and most importantly, their distinctive metallic sheen. Akhal-Teke are one of the oldest horse breeds in the world dating back 3,000 years.
They are adaptable to extreme climatic conditions. Presently, there are only 6,600 golden horses in the world. Most of them are in Russia. While 700 of them are in their native place, Turkmenistan, 1,000 live across Europe with only around 40 in the UK.