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I would like to arm fruit bats with weapons in this modern age (2017), but I don't know what to arm them with. A couple of bits of info:

  1. They are as intelligent as humans, so that is not a barrier.
  2. Their feet are prehensile and able to grab and use weapons.
  3. They need to stay in flight at all times when using the weapon.
  4. The weapon needs to be quiet, and when used, not give away the presence of the bat. (Such as a loud gunshot, explosion, or plume of fire)
  5. The weapons could be used for personal protection and/or military use.

We are talking about flying foxes, as they are sometimes called, with a general wingspan of 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in) and weigh about 0.65 - 1.1 kg (1.4 - 2.4 lbs). Information pulled from Wikipedia.

They can lift up to 40 grams (~1.4 ounces), as they can lift 6 week old infants, and the weight is provided at zooborns.com, although there is a good chance they can lift more, but information of this kind is really hard to find. If an answer requires the bat to lift up to 250 grams (~8.8 ounces), it will work.

They are fighting primarily human targets and each other, and their primary roles would involve reconnaissance and scouting out enemy positions, as well as taking out priority human targets (commanders, enemy snipers, or other bats). Due to this goal, they will mostly travel alone.

Because they are so small and fragile, weapons which do not give away the position of the bat would be best, with "louder" weapons (such as grenades, any incendiary weapon, most guns) only being used in emergencies.

In any case, most weapons could not be used, as bats are small and are not very strong, so guns would be mostly ruled out. Tiny guns would work for anti-bat measures, because bats are small and do not take a lot of effort to kill, but the larger guns to kill humans are heavier, and would probably not be able to be used.

Unmodified grenades would not work, as they are almost too bulky for the bat to handle and maneuver effectively, and are too loud. Smaller grenades have a chance of working, if you also made them quieter, somehow.

Sprays might work, but they require you to get very close to the target to be effective, within 10 feet, according to modelmugging.org.

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  • $\begingroup$ WWII-era bat bombs? $\endgroup$ – Draconis Nov 29 '17 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ What is their enemy? Other bats or humans? For example, they can carry miniature firearms that will be effective against creatures of their own size, and useless against larger animals. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 29 '17 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander Generally humans and larger creatures, but I would also like weapons for bat vs. bat as well. $\endgroup$ – OneSurvivor Nov 29 '17 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ They'd lose any fight miserably. They're tiny, sensitive to light, and don't have our history of violence, and adaptability, not to mention our numbers. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 29 '17 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ without knowing what they are fighting the question is just to vague to answer. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 29 '17 at 19:32
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The main issue with a fruit bat is that it has low mass and no connection with the ground, so no inertia. The bats cannot use any weapon which requires inertia (for example, to resist recoil) or leverage (for example, to hit something with a stick).

Chemical weapons would be good for the bats: they are lightweight, recoilless and they pack a lot of wallop for their volume. I propose something like this.

mini pepper spray

These tiny pepper sprays are lightweight and do not produce recoil. A bat could use them defensively just like people, or offensively: a bat swooping in and releasing spray as it continued on its trajectory would present a formidable offense and because of its speed, it would have minimal chance of contaminating itself with the toxin it sprayed.

The depicted lipstick-size sprays have pepper spray but there is no reason a spray container like this could not spray more formidable chemical weapons: humans have devised a wide array of various chemical weapons all the way up to rapidly lethal VX nerve gas. I could imagine a society of bats might have an even greater variety of chemical weapons with different effects according to their intent - puke spray, LSD spray, paralysis spray, seizure spray etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the idea, but it would appear even this little thing is beyond what a bat could carry (assuming it's in the 1.5 ounce range) $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Nov 29 '17 at 22:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Twelfth - Fruit bats are big! At the Minnesota zoo I watched a fruit bat rip off a sloth. There was a tray of fruit and the sloth was headed for it. Slowly. The fruit bat grabbed a big chunk of fruit, made off with it, then came right back and grabbed another, then another. It was moving the fruit to someplace slothproof. I thought it would clean out the whole thing before the sloth got there but there was still plenty. Maybe it did not seem that way to the sloth, though. $\endgroup$ – Willk Nov 30 '17 at 3:06
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To fight against large creatures, like humans, small bats don't have many options. Due to their small size, any possible firearm that they can carry can not be very effective.

  1. Small guns. They can carry an equivalent of .50 cal sniper rifle. The recoil from it would literally send them flying, any aiming while flapping the wings would be difficult, but a well placed shot can cause serious eye injury to a human. Cons: a pair of protective glasses will render this kind of weapon completely useless.
  2. Bombs. They can carry small explosive bombs, and drop them with some level of precision. Gumball-sized charges, individually, will not be lethal, but they can cause shell-shock, and a number of them will kill a human.
  3. Incendiary bombs. Small bombs filled with napalm instead of explosives can in fact be more nasty.
  4. Poison. They can either drop chemical bombs or fire darts laced with poison. This is a non-conventional weapon, but probably the only way a single bat can reliably kill a human.
  5. Poison sprays. They will work similarly to poisoned charges mentioned above, but would be inferior to them for a number of reasons, namely the necessity to use in close range and danger of getting affected by your own poison.
  6. Lances. A bat can carry some 6" long thin lance and try to pierce human with it. This will be hardly more effective than a miniature sniper rifle mentioned above, but may turn out to be much more convenient.

The options mentioned above are for individual weapons. A group of bats can carry real grenades (or even real bombs) which can be instantly lethal for groups of people.

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I think that giving us a better idea of their size may help. I am a little unsure of that because they seem to be altered bats as they have human level intelligence? Are they normal sized bats? Twice as big? People sized bats? Regardless, I will continue assuming normal sized fruit bats.

Chemical warfare

@Will has already addressed their issues with inertia, their (assumed) size and the fact they cant brace against anything in the air does make this challenging. He suggested chemical warfare which was one of my first thoughts as well but I think there are a few more options.

Using momentum that is already there

On the ground
I think that drop weapons could be effective against enemies restricted to the ground or that have slow movement. Bats are fast and yet can fly relatively high and can easily fly in a swarm, this means that they could make literal bombing runs. I am imagining a swarm of bats and each of them carrying what is essentially a lawn dart. Lawn darts are no joke man. You could also poison the tips or give them firecrackers or something else light and easily dropped.

In the air
Against other bats or similarly sized creatures however, I think that giving them small blades, either directly on their wings or sticking out past the ends, would be not only awesome (dogfights, but with bats!) but also devastating. I am not sure about the strength of their bone structure so I am not positive if it would stand up to the impacts but I know that medium sized birds use their wings to attack, especially when they get larger like geese and swans, and can even break bones without any form of edge or blade. So the assumption is that they would have strong enough wings to do this since other creatures do, and they could use their momentum and speed they have to do flyby gashes to at least soft vulnerable areas like wings or underbelly.

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Simple spray weapons would work best. Given their size, there's not to many guns you could equip them with without hindering their ability to fly entirely.

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