|Average Wingspan||10ft (3m)|
|Feeding Behavior||Unknown (Carnivore?)|
Ahools are a species of flying cryptid indigenous to the rainforests of Java, considered to most likely be a species of giant bat, although some reports insist that they are instead some form of Lazarus pterosaur or flying primate, although these are considered significantly less likely of an explanation.
The Ahool are named for their distinctive call, typically written as either "A-hool" or "ahOOOooool".
Found in the deepest rainforests of the country of Java, including the Salak Mountains, they have large, dark eyes and gray fur. Their wingspan is impressive, and is reported at an estimated 10ft (3m) with large claws extending out, approximately the length of an infant human. This makes them almost twice as large as the largest confirmed bat on the planet Earth, the Common Flying Fox.
Being a cryptid, there are other hypotheses to what the Ahool might otherwise be.
The most fantastic, albeit unlikely, explanation is that the creature is a relative of the Kongamato, a purported species of pterosaur, which is found in Africa. A major reason for this belief is the creature's leathery wings; however it is now known that pterosaurs were mostly covered in downy fluff to prevent heat loss. This may be unnecessary for tropical environments, however.
However, more mundane answers also could explain the sightings:
Two large earless owls exist on Java, the Spotted Wood-owl (Strix seloputo) and the Javan Wood-owl (Strix (leptogrammica) bartelsi). They are intermediate in size between the Spotted Owl of North America or the Tawny Owl of Eurasia, and an eagle owl (horned owl), being 16–20 in (40–50 cm) long and with a wingspan of perhaps 4ft (1.20 meters). Despite this discrepancy, wingspans are usually overestimated in flying animals not held in hand (see also Thunderbird), especially by frightened observers.
Size nonwithstanding, the Javan or Bartels's Wood-owl seems an especially promising candidate to resolve the ahool enigma: It has a conspicuous flat "face" with large dark eyes exaggerated by black rings of feathers and a beak that protrudes but little, and it appears greyish-brown when seen from below. Its call is characteristic, a single shout, given intermittently, and sounding like HOOOH!. Like most large owls, it is highly territorial in breeding season and will frighten away intruders by mock attacks from above and behind. Its flight, being an owl, is nearly completely silent, so that the victim of such sweeps usually only becomes aware of the owl when it homes in, diving with outstretched talons (held at "breast" height to the observer), and they would just have time to duck away. The Javan wood-owl is a decidedly rare and elusive bird not often observed even by ornithologists, as it hides during day. It is found in remote montane forest at altitudes of probably around 1,000-1,500 meters, and does not well tolerate human encroachment, logging and other disturbances.
From its appearance and behavior, the Javan wood-owl matches the characteristics of the ahool surprisingly well, despite the cryptid at first glance giving the impression of a mammal. Observer error due to the circumstances of being dive-bombed in a remote gloomy forest by a fierce snarling and clawing bird may well account for the apparent discrepancies. Notwithstanding, the wood-owls of Java are not generally mentioned in cryptozoological discussions of the ahool, and most authors of cryptozoologial works seem to be entirely unaware of the birds' existence. Be that as it may, it is not resolved how well the owls are known to locals, especially the local name—if any—and whether they are present in locations of ahool reports would seem to be highly relevant. It is also possible that the cry and the flying animal are not identical; even the local population is sometimes unaware which jungle animal makes which vocalization (see, for example, the Satanic Nightjar).