Did you know that most bats have excellent vision, giving the lie to the expression, "Blind as a bat?" I did not know that. Did you know that bat guano can be used to make gun powder? I did not know that. Did you know that a bat giving birth is equivalent to a human female delivering a 35 pound baby while she hangs by her thumbs (mom, not baby)? I did not know that (and would prefer not to think about it). Dr. Brigham's passion for bats was apparent as he passed through the room, holding a Big Brown Bat for the crowd to inspect. Approximately 200 people packed the tiny theatre for the talk, with so many more unable to get in that they were taken upstairs for a talk by one of Dr. Brigham's students. The scientists were overwhelmed by the turnout, which made releasing the bats - all eight of them - a bit problematic in terms of providing peace, quiet and a non-threatening environment. Everyone was cooperative and two of the bats were removed from tiny sacks to fly away before I decided to head home.
I don't have any photos of the evening for you - my camera doesn't like the evenings. I do have some fine photos of a male teenage Big Brown Bat who landed in my backyard in the summer of 2008. He was injured and disoriented and Dr. Brigham sent one of his Bat Rescue Team out to save him. A young woman rode up in the Bat Mobile, transferred the young lad to a cage, then entertained the local children with bat stories before taking Mr. Bat back to the Lab (Yes! They have a Bat Cave, er, Lab!), where he was found to have a sprained right wrist (ahem). After allowing him to heal and rest up for a few days, the team returned him to the park, where as far as I know, he's still living happily and well. (The oldest bat known was 35 years old. Dr. Brigham has tagged bats who lived to be at least 21.)
|Isn't he a handsome fellow?|
Bats do wonders for us, from consuming massive amounts of insects to pollinating flowers and they are facing destruction from White Nose Syndrome, for which there is currently no solution, and from wind turbines, for which the solution is simple: turn off the turbines for two hours at dusk during the six week bat migration period. The next time you see a bat, look up and wonder. If bats get in your belfry, don't panic and don't call the exterminator. Instead, see if your local university or museum of natural history or someone can put you in touch with a rescue squad. You'll be doing the bats, and all of us, a huge favour.
|We don't know why bats hang upside down.|