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Ropen

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Ropen

The Ropen, meaning "demon flyer", is a cryptid thought to be either a giant bat, or more commonly, a pterosaur on New Guinea Island. It is said to produce bioluminescent light, possibly to attract fish.

Overview

The Ropen is a flying cryptid alleged to live in the vicinity of the Indonesian Papua province and the nation of Papua, New Guinea. According to the book Searching for Ropens, it is "any featherless creature that flies in the Southwest Pacific, and has a tail-length more than 25% of its wingspan." On the Island, the word "ropen" refers to a large nocturnal creature that glows briefly as it flies. The ropen is the subject of folklore (like a man but also like a spirit) but it's believed by some natives to be a real animal. Descriptions vary, but it is often said to be batlike, and sometimes, pterosaur-like—although pterosaurs are generally accepted to have been extinct. The ropen is believed to be nocturnal and to exhibit bioluminescence. Purportedly it lives on a diet of fish, though there have been some reports of the creature feasting on human flesh, especially from grave robbery. It is reported to have a wingspan anywhere from 12 to 100 feet.

Identity

As is often the case with cryptids, the Ropen's true identity is subject to debate. Some believe it to be a Rhamphorhynchidae-like creature (a pterosaur with a diamond shape tail), while others suggest that the Ropen is a misidentified bat (e.g. flying foxes, which are large fruit bats than can have wingspans up to two metres (six feet), or frigate birds). Flying lights in Papua New Guinea have been reported by not only natives but by Western visitors. Evelyn Cheesman, an entomologist, mentions them in her book The Two Roads of Papua (published in 1935): "baffling" lights that lasted "about four or five seconds."

The book Searching for Ropens says that the "ropen" light of Umboi Island lasts for about "five seconds." There is also said to be a creature called "Duah" that is said to be another kind of ropen, but with a 20 foot wingspan and a bony crest on its head. However the creature referred to as "Ropen" has a 1-meter wingspan, not 20 feet. According to Searching for Ropens the correct word is actually "duwas," and it is just another name, in a different language, for the same creature.

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