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Bats at Dahlem!

The year is just speeding by!  We have every weekend packed with programs during January and February.  Let’s catch you up on some of the excitement!
In late January the Organization for Bat Conservation came out to do a program on Bats of the World.  About 40 people attended and enjoyed some real close-up views of bats from all over.  Christina also showed a PowerPoint presentation about bats in general – a real good overview for people who are not quite familiar with these amazing flying mammals.

This little fella is a Jamaican leaf-nosed bat.  It is a fruit-eater, and uses that funky nose leaf to create the sounds it uses for echolocation.  Our local bats use their mouths to make these sounds, but if you are a fruit bat, and your mouth is full of fruit, it’s difficult to make a sound!  So, these animals (and other leaf-nose bats) have evolved a novel way to echolocate.

The Egyptian flying fox has a really sweet face.  After having her turn and being put away, she later made a bid for freedom, escaping from the carrier and stretching her wings as she made a circuit of the room!  No one was distressed by this unplanned activity, so the bat made a safe and stress-free landing and was scooped up and returned to her carrier.

The big brown bat really isn’t so big, but it is bigger than its cousin the little brown bat.  Both are native to Michigan, although the little brown has gone from being one of the most common bats nationwide to being considered for listing as an endangered species thanks to white-nose syndrome.  The big brown seen here put on a great demonstration of echolocating for our audience.

The largest bat Christina brought with her was the straw-colored flying fox.  He was very restless and kept trying to climb up and over her hand.

Later, after the program, Christina rewarded the fruit bats with bits of banana.  Here the straw-colored flying fox is enjoying his mouthful.  I kept hoping he would spit out the pulp for me, and he did, eventually, but it was, of course, right after I stopped filming!

We don’t have live animal presentations too often at Dahlem, but they are always popular.  If you’d like to see more live animal programs, let us know!  And…your donation dollars will help fund these special showcases.

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