What have you done to that chihuahua?!?!
July 28, 2019 9:19 PM   Subscribe

November 27, 1984, Dr. Merlin Tuttle shares bats on Late Night With David Letterman. This 10m15s clip features one of (for me) the most memorable soundbites/moments on Letterman back in the day. posted by hippybear (14 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I kinda feel bad for Dave here, he clearly has a mild bat phobia if he thinks a fruit bat is creepy. But these clips are pixelated gold! Great post. I fucking love bats.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2019 [7 favorites]

Don Giller also uploads oldie Letterman videos to YouTube almost daily.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:00 AM on July 29, 2019

Bats are so cute! I feel like sentiment about them has kind of shifted more towards the positive since this clip. I got curious and googled Dr. Tuttle and he's got an organization called Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation, which appears to advocate for positive media attention and wider education about bats. What's very interesting is that on the history page it says that he moved to Austin to do Bat Conservation International full time in 85. I have memories of the bats as a tourist attraction and friends in Scouts who went to go see them and built bat houses and things. Apparently I was a kid in San Antonio the entire time this was happening:
He successfully recruited help from community leaders, the news media and even the health department, and within just five years Austin’s bridge bats had become one of the state’s most popular, multi-million-dollar tourist attractions. In the same period, despite the worst recession in Texas history, BCI went from being virtually penniless, with just Merlin and a staff of one, to owning its own two-million-dollar headquarters building and the world’s most important remaining bat cave. Staff had expanded to 17, supported by 12,000 members in 55 countries. But most importantly, clear and measurable progress had been made in reversing age-old negative attitudes as people learned how protecting bats benefits humans, countless partners began protecting millions of bats around the globe.

So that's cool! He's obviously had a direct effect on my life, at least as far as bats are concerned.
posted by Mizu at 12:34 AM on July 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

The very early Letterman show was an enormous influence on me (for better or worse). I'd watch it religiously when I was a kid, and I even taped and watched his short lived morning show. I'd routinely tape his nighttime show when I had school the next morning. Some of the best television ever, in my opinion.
posted by SoberHighland at 6:03 AM on July 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

First I was watching post-retirement Carson clips, and now it's Letterman. Times does fly! Thanks for the post.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 6:10 AM on July 29, 2019

The very early Letterman show

the band with Steve Jordan and Hiram Bullock was the best, too......Bullock, unfortunately, developed, well, reliability issues, I think, which doesn't cut it in TV.
posted by thelonius at 6:41 AM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I put up a bat house in 2013 but it remains unoccupied several years later.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:55 AM on July 29, 2019

Have I got the book for you. “The Secret Lives of Bats,” by Merlin Tuttle. Learn exactly how bananas this man is about bats and how hard he’s worked to improve their much-maligned image. Featuring: the various times Dr. Tuttle almost got himself killed in caves, the various times he almost got shot, and the various times he almost met his demise from miscellaneous other animals/conditions in the name of bats!
He is my hero because whenever he finds he needs to do something to meet his goals he just ploughs ahead and does it. Oh, to rehabilitate bats’ image I need to become a professional photographer and live in hotel rooms with bats for days on end? OK! To chase bats around and study them I need to learn to drive a motorboat well enough to well, chase a little bat around? Sign me up!
posted by sacchan at 8:32 AM on July 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Obscure Reference: I didn't see it in your AskMe, but I've been told by folks that if your bat house isn't occupied in the first year, you need to move it. How feasible that is in NYC is not something I know. Good on you and good luck!
posted by mfu at 9:29 AM on July 29, 2019

Move it a few feet or a few miles?
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:37 AM on July 29, 2019

Vampire bats have been caught sucking human blood for the first time.
"Health concerns were raised after Enrico Bernard from the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, and his team analysed the feces of hairy-legged vampire bats, and found human blood in the samples... The bats usually target large birds when they're feeling peckish and suck a spoonful of blood as a meal... That they seem to be feeding on human blood comes as a shock. In previous studies, these bats have opted to fast rather than feed on goat or pig blood, when it's the only blood available."

Three largest bat colonies to catch in Texas.
"Everything is bigger in Texas. So it makes sense we would hold the distinct pride of having the largest known bat colony in the world."
Dateline NBC -- A Postcard from the Field: The Bats of Austin

National Wildlife Federation -- Build a Bat House
posted by TrishaU at 3:18 PM on July 29, 2019

Them bats is smart. They use radar.
posted by Robin Kestrel at 4:25 PM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Technically it's sonar, but yeah. I can't do it.

I did have a bat fly into the side of my head once, so their system isn't really that infallible.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 PM on July 29, 2019

"He'd like to eat a mealworm for you."

"Oh, of course! Most of our guests do."
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:32 PM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

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