Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat Is World’s Smallest Mammal


Close-up of a bumblebee bat. Credit: Daniel Hargreaves

The Kitti’s hog-nosed bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai), sometimes referred to as the bumblebee bat due to its diminutive size, was discovered in 1970s and could arguably be the world’s smallest mammal, depending on how size is defined.

C. thonglongyai is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and is found in western Thailand and southeast Burma, in limestone caves along rivers. It is the only existing member of the family Craseonycteridae. Its coat is reddish-brown or gray, with a distinctive pig-like snout. Colonies vary in size, but most have an average of 100 individuals per cave. Some caves will have smaller groups from 10 to 15, while others will have up to 500. The bat feeds in short bursts of activity during evenings and dawn, foraging for insects. Its wings seem to be adapted for hovering flight.


The status in Burma is not well known, but the population in Thailand is restricted to a single province and may be at risk for extinction. The principal threats to its survival are mostly anthropogenic, including habitat degradation and the disturbance of roosting sites.

The bat is about 29 to 33 mm (1.1″ to 1.3″) in length and weighs 2 g (0.074 oz). Some small shrews, including the Etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus), may be lighter but they are longer. C. thonglongyai‘s closest relatives are bats from the families Hipposideridae and Rhinopomatidae.


There’s much about C. thonglongyai that remains unknown. Scientists know little about their reproductive behavior, or how they evade predators. It’s also unknown whether colonies stay in one cave or move around to others. This bat does use echolocation.

7 Comments on "Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat Is World’s Smallest Mammal"


  2. Daniel Hargreaves | February 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Reply

    Hello my name is Daniel Hargreaves and you have credited me in the first photo on this blog – the photo does not belong to me but more importantly none of the bats in all three of the photos on this page are Kitti’s hog nosed bats. I’m more than happy to share some photos with you of the correct species so please get in touch.

    • Sorry about that. Not sure why the author mistakenly gave you credit. Since the post is from 2012 i can’t find his source material, but i will see if i can update the photos. Thanks-

    • Hello Daniel – do you have photos of Kitti’s hog-nosed bats that I might be able to use in a book? Thank you!

  3. Chris Barrington | January 19, 2021 at 1:55 pm | Reply

    Hi this web page is now a source of misinformation across the internet. It ranks quite high in google images and the photos above keep being shared across Facebook with the caption that they are a Kitti’s hog nosed bats when they are not please can you at least remove the photos in this article. Thanks

  4. So many people keep sharing these photos and stating they’re the Bumblebee bat, when in fact none of these photos are! The second and third photos are of baby bats of a different species, not even adult bats. Please use photos of the correct species – Daniel Hargreaves who commented in 2017, Daniel Whitby, and myself have photos of the true Bumblebee bat. Please update this post!

  5. i like tutles

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