Internet shocked bat with 'dog's face' is real

A photo of a bat with an uncanny dog-like face has become an internet sensation, with many astounded that such a creature could be real.

The canine look-alike is a Buettikofer's epauletted fruit bat - a mega-wing bat found in tropical forests and savannas.

The species' adult male has a large snout and large lips, resembling a dog.

The picture, tweeted by Twitter user Kirsten Howard, has gained hundreds of responses.

Howard says a lot of people who saw the image rushed to check if the creature was real.

Replies show many in shock, but feelings range from disgust to admiration.

"I know your tweet SAYS what this is but that didn't stop me from shrieking "WHAT IS THAT?!?!" and looking it up anyway," one user replied.

Another conspired the animal had undergone gene manipulation, where bat and canine blood was combined.

A person said: "Can you imagine being afraid of dogs and then finding out this thing exists?"

Buettikofer's epauletted fruit bats play an integral role in keeping their ecosystems in balance, according to The Dodo.

The Buettikofer's epauletted fruit bat is threatened by habitat loss.