A nocturnal safari with your friendly neighbourhood bat

Penned on the 12th June 2013

A nocturnal safari with your friendly neighbourhood bat

Don’t be afraid. I’m not as they say. In fact, they never know how to sum me up. I’m one of you, a mammal, all fur, no feather.

Years ago, they called me ‘Flittermouse’ and ‘Leather-flapper.’ But my heart pumps warm blood and no, I don’t want any of yours… although my great uncle Desmodus Rufus may, he’s commonly known as the vampire bat, but a) his bite is lighter than that of a leech and b) he lives in tropical America.

We love the dark and peace of the West Country. No streetlamps to blind me (another urban myth by the way, I have 6 senses, not 4). No traffic to deafen me.

We navigate by echolocation…echolocation…echo…(sorry, it’s an old bat joke). Anyway, it’s like a central nervous system that’s built into our wings. It helps us navigate and sniff out prey even when it’s pitch black. Look, I’ll demonstrate.

Close your eyes, grab my neck and come fly with me. Let’s start with a snack. That vibration is a damselfly. We can share it if you like, I’ve heard they’re great pan-fried in olive oil. Ok, let’s see who else is out on the tiles tonight. Yep, feels like my old friend Furze-pig, or the hedgehog as you know him. He’s the Evel Knievel of the night. He can plunge 15ft onto concrete and just roll away without a scratch.

I’ve got to go now as I’ve got a gig with the family. We’re trying to hit 140 decibels tonight, but you won’t hear it. We’re ultrasonic and out of your range. So sleep well and no need to beware of the badger. He’s a friendly old boy who’s only into peanuts and worms.


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