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Thinking about bats

I have loved bats always. I have had several up-close moments with them and they are just so elegant as an idea. I mean-- a fuzzy flying mouse! How splendid. We had a couple that lived in our cellar when I was small. They ate mosquitoes and so were treasured. I remember, also, seeing my moms cat dancing in the moonlight trying to catch them. They were swooping under the streetlight, going for moths. The cat was wicked fast, but her neverr had a chance.

When I was a kid I found a dead one by the side of the road. I knew better, but I picked it up. I just wanted to look. It was not dead, but merely stunned. It bit me right away. That was the night that my mom cleaned my punctured hand with kerosene. (Mom used kerosene for lots of things.) And she gave me a stern lecture about playing with things like that, and bats in particular. Bats, she said, carry rabies and other diseases humans can get. These diseases may not make the bats themselves sick. An injured creature will bite. A dead creature will leak. If you need to examine it for some reason use a stick.

My moim was not an epidemioligist. She was a stay-home mom, and this was about 1974. But she read a lot. And she was right. Bats are probable resovoirs for at least 20 diseases that will kill humans. Ebola in particular, we now now..

Most especially the hammer headed bat. This guy.

http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/40843-Hypsignathus-monstrosus

He is not handsome, but has a certain charm I think. That is the male, pictured. He has a nose like an elephant seal. He uses it to sing a song to attract the girl bats. He sits very still, in company with other male bats, at the appointed time, and sings. She comes over and makes a pick. They mate, and produce one baby. This is an animal that can live to be 30! They live entirely on fruit.  They have a three foot wingspan.

What thoughts would such a creature have? We can never know. But I think we can safely say that we should admire them from a distance, and not harrass, kill, or eat them.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ba1126
Nov. 9th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
Can't say that I share your love of bats!! We occasionally had bats get into our cottage and my Dad would take a broom and try to swat it while the rest of us stayed with our heads under our blamkets!! Thankfully, no one was ever bitten. Sometimes they would find their way back outside, sometimes Dad would stun it and toss it outside (to possibly revive?) In the evenings, sitting on the screened porch, we would watch them swoop over the water catching mosquitoes, which we appreciated! This was in the 50's and early 60's.

Kerosene!?!Yikes! My Mom favored iodine which stung but also killed germs. Thankfully, most of the time we only required lots of soap and water!
anteros_lmc
Nov. 9th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
I adore bats too! Though sadly it's not often I encounter them. I was super exited to spot one in the garden in late summer, but they don't seem to be frequent visitors.

One of my best friends once had a boyfriend who kept two bats that travelled everywhere with him. He was a wildlife warden who had rescued a female bat with a broken wing. She turned out to be pregnant and delivered a baby bat a few days later. Baby bat was a lazy wee blighter who couldn't be bothered much with flying, so friend's boyfriend ended up having to care for both mother and daughter. He transported them in a little wooden box and took them out twice a day to feed them and exercise them. They were quite the most delightful little creatures I have ever met!
charliecochrane
Nov. 10th, 2014 12:16 pm (UTC)
Bats make lovely pets. We have long eared and Serotine in our loft.

As to bat thoughts, I suspect they go "Food, food, sleep, food, food, sex, sleep."
kcwarwick
Nov. 10th, 2014 11:43 am (UTC)
We're lucky to have bats flying round our cottage at night and some nesting under the slates of the back porch. We have some quite rare ones in our area. So far none in the loft! I was very interested to read anteros's comment about the tame bats!
serge_lj
Nov. 10th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
You never got sick, thank goodness.
nodbear
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
I love them too - I had a baby one land up by mistake in my guest room once and on advice of the local bat preservation group left all the windows in the room open and the door shut - that night the mother bat came and retrieved her straying offspring>The young one was so tiny clinging to the cupboard door :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )