Scientists have discovered a brand new type of bat, and it’s bright orange in colour.
The unique animal was discovered the Nimba Mountains in Guinea, West Africa, and has been described as ‘striking’ by its finders.
The new species was discovered when the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International were carrying out field surveys to see which species live in the mountains’ old mining tunnels. It’s believed that the bat is critically endangered.
It’s thought the orange bats are critically endangered not only due to it not having been spotted before, but because it appears a large majority of its territory in the old mining tunnels is in various states of collapse and are predicted to eventually disappear.
Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International and an associate research professor at the University of California, told the Independent:
In an age of extinction, a discovery like this offers a glimmer of hope. It’s a spectacular animal. It has this bright-orange fur, and because it was so distinct, that led us to realise it was not described before.
She added, ‘Discovering a new mammal is rare. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child.’
Nancy Simmons, a bat expert, said she knew the bat was a new species ‘as soon as [she] looked at it’.
Simmons continued, ‘Then began the long path of documentation and gathering all the data needed to show that it’s indeed unlike any other known species’.
The species has since been named Myotis nimbaensis, meaning ‘from Nimba’, after the mountain range where the bat was found.