eglantine_br (eglantine_br) wrote,

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.

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.
Tags: animals, real life

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