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Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
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Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Epauletted Fruit Bats

There is not much information to be found on these bats. In Kruger National Park they hang onto the thatched (grass) roof near the river.
Peters' Epauletted Fruit Bats are a common species in part of the southern Africa subregion, including Mozambique, eastern Zaire, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and parts of South Africa.
They congregate in large colonies of up to hundreds of individuals and make a great deal of noise together, especially when returning after a night's foraging. They hang upside-down from the thinner branches of evergreen trees, whose thick foliage provides cover.
As they jockey for position, interfering neighbors are slashed with wings and with the sharp claw at the end of the first digit or thumb on the leading edge of the wing. Eventually they all settle down, slightly spaced out from one another, and silence reigns for the day.
The so-called epaulette on each shoulder of the males is a patch of white hairs covering a sunken glandular pouch. The hairs come into prominence when the pouches are turned outwards. This happens when the animal is under stress, when it vocalizes, and possibly also when it is sexually stimulated. The male's call is a musical bark, usually uttered as it hangs in its accustomed position.
These bats prefer soft, pulpy fruits. In their raids on cultivated crops, they ignore apples and pears, but eat peaches, figs, and similar juicy fruits. A single young is produced, which clings to one of its mother's nipples and is carried by her while she is feeding.
SIZE: Length (including tail) (m) 15 cm, (f) 12 cm; wingspan 56 cm; mass (m) 105 g, (f) 76 g.
The answers to bat myths

ARE BATS BLIND?
No, bats are not blind and many can see very well. Insect-eating bats depend on sound and very good hearing to find food and to get around in the dark. So don't say, "...as blind as a bat" because it is not true!

DO BATS GET CAUGHT IN YOUR HAIR?
If bats can find tiny insects in total darkness, would they get tangled up in your hair? No! They are much too smart to fly into people.

BATS ARE FLYING MICE, RIGHT?
While both bats and mice are mammals, bats are not rodents and are more closely related to primates and people. Besides...mice can't fly!

ARE BATS DIRTY AND DO THEY ALL CARRY RABIES?
Bats are very clean and groom themselves just like cats. Bats can get rabies, like all mammals, but few ever do. Remember, bats are wild animals. You have nothing to fear if you never touch a bat.

OTHER MAMMALS CAN FLY LIKE BATS, RIGHT?
Some mammals, like the flying squirrels can glide, but bats are the only mammals that can really fly. There are many different ways bats fly. Some can hover like hummingbirds while feeding on nectar, and a few flying foxes can soar in the air like eagles.

BATS ARE WORTHLESS ANIMALS.
Bats are very, very helpful! They help control the insect population, reseed cut forests, and pollinate plants that provide food for humans. Bats also taught us about sonar. Bacteria in their guano is useful in improving soaps, making gasohol and producing antibiotics, besides being a fertilizer.

36 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Hi Jean, I love bats. We have many here flying around at night which I think are Pipistrelle Bats. They are very small. I suspect that there is a large colony somewhere close by in one of the old barns but I don't know which one. There are so many old buildings around here! Diane

Jo said...

Hi Joan:) I love the bat population we have at home in my garden. When we sit next to the pond at sunset and as it gets dark, the bats come out. You have taught me something (no surprises there, considering what you know about wildlife!) I know they keep the misquito and other bug popuation down, but I never knew they pollinated plants - especially food sources. I also didn't know about their guano being used for all those important consumables in our human lives. One question: Do they never roost near the ground. I have seven cats at home and in the past ten years I have only come across one bat corpse in my cat-house; not eaten, just dead and it was a tiny thing.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Diane. Some people do not like that bats and I agree, some look rather nasty but they do such a wonderful job for us, how can we not love them being around? :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Jo. I love to see them leaving their roosts and going off on their nightly hunts. No, they do not roost near the ground but they do in trees and so the cats can get them there. It is quite unlike that the cat killed it though, more likely just a natural death which the cat found and brought home as they are bound to do. :)

The cats are quite safe from them as they instinctively know what they can and cannot eat.

Please feel free to ask questions at anytime. If I do not know the answer, I will try to find it for you. :)

tony said...

Wow" so informative and great photos.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Tony. Glad you liked it. :)

blog with no name said...

Joan, I bet that if they came any bigger, you could get Gaelyn to ride one! LOL! Great shots. Bats have always been "trippy" to me. Looks like a tiny flying dog, and a little man at the same time...

A human kind of human said...

As a child I was terrified of bats. I viewed them as a kind of vampire. Where this image came from, heaven only knows. For a while we had a resident bat that would fly into the livingroom at night and circle around the fan a few times before it flew down the passage and went to sit under Eddie's bed (lol). One night my six foot, policeman son caught it, amidst much hilarity as he is scared of them, and let it go in the little park near our house. It never returned.

Diane AZ said...

They look adorable! Fascinating how these epauletted fruit bats prefer to keep a little space between each other while roosting. I'd like to hear that musical bark of the male sometime. :)

Andrea said...

Strange eyes!
These ones are very beautiful,in my opinion.
(I understand there will be many people not thinking the same...)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I would too Mike!! :) They would turn out to be much easier than ostriches!! :) I do agree with your description. They have always looked more dog-like to me.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! I like your story Anne. Thanks for sharing it. :)

Most people scare their children with stories about the bats and they are carried over from one generation to the next. I am pleased my parents never let me be frightened of anything.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Diane. Some of these bats do pack together but here I guess there is still enough space for all of them. Every year I go back there are more of them.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They are strange Andrea and some of them seemed to be watching all I was doing but they are actually quite comfortable with all the people around there. What a pity children are made to be scared of them.

Gaelyn said...

Joan, these bats were SO cute at Kruger. Remember, "those white spots are its eyes." LOL

And yes, I would ride one if they were bigger or I was one of the "little people."

Another great and informative post.
Your pics are always so crisp.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! That was funny Gaelyn and I still shake my head when I think of it. Thanks my friend.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Joan: Being a nature lover that is one of the critters I leave alone. You certainly got great photos and tell a neat story. Bats and I still live separate lives. They fall into that snake grouping.

Anna said...

Joan thanks for the info about bats, now that you said that they are smart not to touch my hair, I will relax my fear a bit, lol. Thanks for good info. Nice pictures too. Anna :)

Steven Alexander said...

Joan, great post ... and so good hearing from you again. Hugs from the Amazon.

young-ecletic-encounters said...

We have as many bats in our neighborhood as we do birds and I love having both. Thanks for your post. I come back because you always have such well researched unusual animals on your post.

Becky and Gary said...

I actually like Bats, and this post is very interesting. The only Bat I have seen around here is the Brown Bat, and we welcome them since we have a large mosquito population.
B.
PS It's snowing here tonight! :(

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are not alone Tom, a lot of people feel as you do but I thnk it is because they have been made to think of them like this. Both snakes and bats are very beneficial to us. I think you and M need to come for a visit so I can take you to the bush with me. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are welcome Anna. I am always hoping that people will find these things not as scary as what they thought it is and be able to get past their fear of them.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Wonderful to hear from you too Steven. I have not seen you around for a long while now. You still post amazing stuff which I see on my reader all the time.
Hugs from sunny SA. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are welcome young-ecletic-encounters. I am pleased to know you find my post to be of interest. Here, they have started to put Bat Houses up in many places were they can roost without being disturbed.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I dont believe it is snowing there Becky!! It is almost MAY!! WOW!! I do feel sorr for you with all that awful weather.

These bats are so small and cute.

Firefly said...

I would so love to be able to see that.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Well let me know when you are ready to bring the family down to Kruger and I will show them to you Jonker. :)

Leeloo said...

This is such an interesting post Joan, thanks for posting. Most people think I'm crazy for liking bats :P
I was watching a documentary not long ago about flight, and they were saying how bats are the best 'flyers'. They showed experiments on how they let bats fly across a room with a bunch of chains hanging from the ceiling in complete darkest and the bats would make it across the room without hesitation between those chains. They changed the location of the chains everytime they did this. You'd have to see it, it's a bit hard to explain, so interesting!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

That sounds really interesting Leeloo, it is something I would have loved to have seen. After being involved for so long with wildlife, there is nothing in nature I do not find interesting. Nowdays, they are so much more sophisticated in making videos on these interesting habits. Things we have never been able to see before. I watch everything we have available on our TV channels.

Not many people like bats, snakes and spiders but each has its purpose in the circle of life. Glad you enjoyed reading this. :)

Mary said...

Cool photos! Did you get down on the floor to take these? LOL!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! No, they were hanging from the roof. :) Thanks Mary.

JM said...

They have such funny faces! :-) Great shots!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I have to agree. LOL!! Thanks Jose.

Rambling Woods said...

i am going to send this link to my friend who rehabs bats. wonderful

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Michele. I hope she enjoys the pictures.