Most People Don’t Know This One Fact About Bats. Do You?

Less than 1% of bats have rabies.

A deep red liquid fills the chalice. The sun rests barely above the horizon as the crickets begin their evening chatter. 

I take small sips from the chalice while awaiting the first one to flutter above. One by one the company of bats thickens. The sky turns from pink to deep blue and the clouds hover high above. 

Bat watching is wonderful mediation. It is a relaxing experiment in patience. There are nights when only a few showed up. And even a couple of nights where none show up. However, the sunset proved to be stunning and I could imagine the bats in another open area foraging off insects there and it filled me with content. Watching the earth’s only flying mammals live their life pulls me out of my world and into theirs. I become insignificant and humbled.

One night we had my bat biologist friend and her husband over for dinner. What an experience! She brought her echolocation device and night vision goggles. The echolocation device could actually “hear” their chirps, recognizing their type of chirp, and then tell you from what species of bat the chirp likely came (the painting here features the Townshend’s Big-Eared Bat).  I think the bats even sensed she was there because they put on quite a show and seem to have invited their friends over for dinner.

As the weather gets colder, there will be fewer bats around. Some migrate (like birds) and others go into torpor (a type of hibernation). Some species, such as the little brown bat, may hibernate for more than six months waiting for the return of insects in the spring. I will miss them for the time being, but will enjoy thinking about them all snuggled up in their roosts.

I encourage you to step outside and look up around dusk. Even if you don’t see or have bats in your area, the sunset is always worth a gander. 

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