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September 25, 2009 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Thirsty bats caught in the act! Kim Taylor. More of Mr. Taylor's work here

Bonus bat-link with extra Taylor photos.
posted by bonehead (54 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Ha! That was way more awesome than I expected.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:38 PM on September 25, 2009

Thanks for tonight's nightmare fodder.
posted by fijiwriter at 12:40 PM on September 25, 2009

Aw, bats are great!

except when they roost in your eaves and leave guano all over the side of your house
posted by jquinby at 12:41 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

oh wow
posted by shmegegge at 12:43 PM on September 25, 2009

Man, you know what I like? (previouslyier)
posted by bonehead at 12:46 PM on September 25, 2009

Holy Shit.

It looks like daylight. I can't imagine what those strobes going off was like.
posted by fontophilic at 12:46 PM on September 25, 2009

It's surprising how cute they are in these photographs. Lookit the widdle eye beads and those big fuzzy ears! And that one is sticking its tongue out like my kitty does sometimes! Awwwwwwww.

In real life, however, keep them away from me or I'll cover my head in my arms, curl into a ball, and generally freak out. They're trying to kill me and eat me, I swear!
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:50 PM on September 25, 2009

With representatives on every continent except Antarctica, they are extraordinarily diverse, accounting for one in every five species of mammal alive today. The key to bats’ rise to prominence is, of course, their ability to fly, which permits them to exploit resources that other mammals cannot reach. But their ascension was hardly a foregone conclusion: no other mammal has conquered the air.

So, basically, they're totally kicking our ass at this mammal thing.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:56 PM on September 25, 2009 [6 favorites]

Yeah, God intended that mice fly.
posted by bonehead at 1:01 PM on September 25, 2009

Bats fly through my apartment complex every evening to drink water from the pool. I was unaware of this two month ago when I first moved to Tucson and was a little bit shocked when bats started swooping in over and around my head as I was sitting by the pool. They were close enough that my boyfriend and I could hear them echo-locating. Fortunately, I got to see several of them take a drink before one flew a little too close to my face, causing me to head inside. My fear of a bat attack subsided after a few days and now I hang out with them a few nights a week.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:10 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and these shots are awesome.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:20 PM on September 25, 2009

What is the equivalent of "OM NOM NOM" for drinking?
posted by Cogito at 1:20 PM on September 25, 2009

They frighten me, because I am one of a a superstitious and cowardly lot, and bats strike terror into our hearts. They are a creature of the night, black, terrible ...
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

When I was 12 I really liked collecting insects and I went with my dad to Costa Rica. We were staying at a little hotel in the rainforest and there were a bunch of people studying bats there also. They had night vision goggles and they took me out to watch bats drinking out of a pond and catching vampire bats with a super lightweight net and stuff. That was sweet.
posted by snofoam at 1:24 PM on September 25, 2009

Also, one time in eastern Oregon I found a perfectly mummified bat (it is really dry there). I had it in a cabinet and carpet beetles ate all the skin and fur off. Now I have a bat skeleton.
posted by snofoam at 1:25 PM on September 25, 2009

Even bats gots to drink.

Nice shots.
posted by Rashomon at 1:30 PM on September 25, 2009

With that much strobe light all at once, I'm surprised he didn't just capture a lot of bat heart attacks.
posted by yhbc at 1:35 PM on September 25, 2009 [4 favorites]

Where is the blood?
posted by dov3 at 1:38 PM on September 25, 2009

What is the equivalent of "OM NOM NOM" for drinking?

posted by nzero at 1:38 PM on September 25, 2009 [10 favorites]

About a month ago I was preparing to fix the soffits under the 2nd floor gable peak of my roof, at the top of my maximally-extended ladder, when I heard a noise inside. Being an idiot, I leaned in for a closer look at the same time as a bat flew out of the crack, missing my nose by what must have been a fraction of an inch. I honestly don't know how or why I'm alive to tell you about it.
Nice pics.
posted by rocket88 at 1:38 PM on September 25, 2009

I love bats! The pictures are great. My favourite is the third one, the very still pond with this gouge in the water from the tongue.

What is the equivalent of "OM NOM NOM" for drinking?

Interestingly (maybe just to me) the verb for "to drink" in Twi* is "nom".

*Twi is an African language spoken in Ghana. The tw is pronounced like the tch w in "catch wind."

posted by carmen at 2:16 PM on September 25, 2009 [4 favorites]

Not to be a hater, but I think these came out a little flat. Strobe washout. It's a shame too, because that is clearly an elaborate and well thought out setup. A+ for effort though!
posted by butterstick at 2:19 PM on September 25, 2009

Interestingly (maybe just to me) the verb for "to drink" in Twi* is "nom".

The logical question: what is the verb for "to eat" in Twi?
posted by Cogito at 2:25 PM on September 25, 2009

batshitinsane tag inclusion fail
posted by fire&wings at 2:32 PM on September 25, 2009

We closed our pool permanently some years ago and it turned into a pond. One of the nice features was the nightly bat swoops. (The nicest feature was the annual appearance of one or more snapping turtles that would take food from my hand [on a stick]).
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:33 PM on September 25, 2009

Yeah, God intended that mice fly.

Bats aren't rodents. You're thinking of this guy.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:40 PM on September 25, 2009

Bats aren't rodents.

Fo realz? I thought they were...
posted by exhilaration at 2:42 PM on September 25, 2009

Huh, so did I. But (according to Wikipedia) bats (Chiroptera) are more closely related to, e.g., ungulates than to rodents. (Apparently there's some cladistic churn (also) in this area.)
posted by hattifattener at 3:09 PM on September 25, 2009

So bats are really flying cows (or antelopes)!?! Who knew?
posted by bonehead at 3:13 PM on September 25, 2009

Now if they had a shot of batman doing the same... I'd be impressed.
posted by rainy at 3:35 PM on September 25, 2009

One of my favorite things on a warm fall evening is to stand by the lake feeling and hearing the whir of bat wings as they eat the mosquitoes attracted to my carbon dioxide. I've never been hit by a bat nor bit by a mosquito, though my hair gets brushed now and then. It's amazing.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:38 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Also, it's usually too dark to see anything, which makes it much more intense.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:38 PM on September 25, 2009

No, silly, bats are flying echidna.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:39 PM on September 25, 2009

I wish we could hear the bat's inner thoughts as they're doing this.
flying flying flying. la la la. flying flying. thirsty. thirsty. flying. thirsty. flying. thirsty. water! water! thirsty! water! diving. drinking.FLASH! whoamotherfuckerwhatwasthat!?!?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:42 PM on September 25, 2009 [6 favorites]

OK, this seems like as good a place as any to ask a question that's been on my mind:

Where do the animals who live in my yard get their water from?

It's not uncommon for it not to rain here for weeks at a time (I think). The closest permanent sources of water, other than deep underground, are about a mile away or so.

I imagine the birds (and bats!) can just fly the mile to one of the streams, but squirrels and groundhogs and such? Do they really go a mile on foot every day, across the territories of hostile squirrels and hostile groundhogs -- and cats! -- not to mention across many streets, some of them with lots of cars travelling at high speeds all the time? And then a mile back?

Wouldn't it kill me to go for weeks -- or even days -- without water? If they're not making that journey every day, why aren't they dead?

I imagine that the reason is among the following:

(1) They get sufficient water from the food they eat. If so, do I get sufficient water from the food I eat? Could I survive more or less normally without actually drinking liquid, provided I had a normal supply of food?

(2) They really do travel that far, surprisingly often.

(3) Morning dew is enough to carry them over.

(4) There's some closer permanent supply of water that they know about, but that I don't.

(5) I'm misjudging the average length of time between rain. But even if so, I'm sure we've had very long droughts, any one of which seems like it should be enough to kill all squirrels.

(6) They need water significantly less frequently than I do.
posted by Flunkie at 4:25 PM on September 25, 2009

I love bats. Anything that eats mosquitos is fine with me (I don't think there are any fruit bats this far north given the lack of...uh...fruit). I like the "thwippy" sounds their wings make. I like how they fly like they're drunk. And now I like how they stick their tongues out when going for a drink.
posted by Salmonberry at 4:53 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Neat photos! Thanks for the post.

> I could hear them echo-locating

Inconsequentialist, what did that sound like? I thought bat sonar was too high a frequency for human ears to hear. Was it a series of pulses or pings, or continuous squeak, or what? Or was it the kind of sound you feel more than hear? I'd love to know what it was like!
posted by Quietgal at 8:15 PM on September 25, 2009

I love these photos.

About 20 ywars ago when I was in grad school in California, a friend of mine, Adam, and I went hiking in Domeland Wilderness one weekend. We were hiking over the ridge into Manter's Meadow and had stopped before sundown high up on the mountainside before crossing over in the morning.

After we'd set up our tent, we went along the ridge to a little place where water gathered in the notch on the side of a rick escarpment - a little pool of water, perhaps six feet wide - to fill our water treatment canteens. After we got our water, we were just sitting there by the pool, quietly enjoying the moment as twilight descended.

Just before it got dark, a little bat came along for a drink. Not startled by us, I guess because we'd been so still for several minutes, the little creature hovered a few feet over the water, then dipped down for a slurp. Hovered again, then dipped down for another slurp. The gentle hum of its wings was the only sound as we watched the little guy, only a few feet scant in front of us. Hover, slurp. Hover, slurp.

After a few dozen dips, he hummed off. The spell was broken, and I heard myself and Adam let out a gasp where we'd both been holding our breaths, watching the magical display. The grace and efficiency of motion of that little bat was quite stunning. The impression it made remains makes it one of my favorite experiences observing animals in the wild.
posted by darkstar at 11:04 PM on September 25, 2009

Jebus, i should proofread better.
posted by darkstar at 11:06 PM on September 25, 2009

I love bats. I love everything about them except their smell. We've got a fairly large fruit bat colony near us but we also get the smaller insectivorous ones. I can hear them hunting (my husband can't) and I think it's totally awesome. It's right up on the threshold of hearing, but the closest I can render it is a very sharp "twit...twit...twit". They sometimes swoop down the side of the house and the echolocation does the whole Doppler thing so I can hear them coming and going. Sometimes they fight in the trees outside the house for the sweet nectar in the flowers and the squealing sounds like some madman trying to etch glass. I know I'm probably only hearing their bottom register, but I wonder what the rest of it is like.
posted by ninazer0 at 11:27 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love bats too, and can still hear them which amazes and thrills me. When my toddler was around 2 years she had trouble falling asleep without a nightly walk to wind down, we'd walk past the river up a street where the 1970's houses have very strange rooftops that bats have decided to call home. You could walk down the silent street toward the water and watch the bats fly to the river. My 2 year old got really god at locating them and pointing with great accuracy to where they could be seen for a brief second. We even saw them dip down to the water, but I thought they were going for low-flying insects. It was our little nightly adventure.
posted by dabitch at 1:09 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

*FLASH* I'm blind! I'm blind! Oh, wait. I'm a bat. Carry on!
posted by steef at 4:58 AM on September 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

A squirrel weighs 1% or less of what a human does. It's not unreasonable, then, to assume that its daily water intake is somewhere on the order of 1% of ours. Even if you base your estimate on one of those fanatics who drinks eight glasses of water religiously every day, that comes out to a bit over a tablespoon.

I don't know how many dewdrops are in a tablespoon, but one way or another, I bet if I gave you 24 hours to accumulate a tablespoon of water from the stuff in your yard, you'd figure out a way to do it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:19 AM on September 26, 2009

Bats are amazing, as its the word 'bat'. That's a great name for an animal. If you were a bat you'd totally take the piss out of the squirrels for being called squirrels. "Oooh, squirrrrrrrrel."
posted by Summer at 9:20 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fantastic! These exhibit exactly the sort of behavior I'd expect from these unspeakable, giant bugs.
posted by aladfar at 10:19 AM on September 26, 2009

I'm surprised I'm the first person in this thread to ask this, but what the hell is a bat detector?
posted by tehloki at 5:29 PM on September 26, 2009

Hmmm okay after RTFA it appears it is some kind of device that detects bats. Wacky!
posted by tehloki at 5:30 PM on September 26, 2009

A bat detector, and a good candidate for a winter time evening project.
posted by jquinby at 6:50 PM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

jquinby, that is very cool.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:19 PM on September 26, 2009

Bat sounds from around the world.
posted by Sparx at 2:17 PM on September 27, 2009

There's no such thing as a Bat Detector Van.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:21 AM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's no such thing as a Bat Detector Van.

The Loony Detector Van, you mean.
posted by jquinby at 10:28 AM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

I like having bats around and I do whatever I can to encourage them to take up residence around my house. I like to think of them as my own personal demonic army; sweeping forth every night to do battle with the insect forces which have plagued me during the day and dusk.

Plus, they make the sweetest little chirping as they navigate around. ("Twit...Twit...Twit.." is just about how I would describe it as well). Some people find them scary, I find them way too useful and, well, kinda cute.
posted by quin at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

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