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Sunday, August 5, 2012

The close-knit world of Bats

A ton of myths surround bats, mostly due to old Hollywood movies and the absence of a fact-checker.  Fact is, a single, mature bat can eat about 5,000 mosquitoes per night. So they're great to have around, unless you like mosquitoes.

CORRECTED MYTHS:  There are absolutely no vampire bats on this continent. Bats do not get tangled in your hair. Bats constantly groom themselves, making them one of the cleanest animals in the world. Bats are not blind - they're "nocturnal" which is totally different. Bats are not rabies vectors, though a few (under 1%) get it; (if one gets the disease, it dies within about 24 hours, so it's unable to transmit it.).

Bats leaving Congress Ave. Bridge,
Austin, every night at sunset
I hope you'll forgive me for posting this blog a little late;  Nancy and I were down in Austin visiting relatives (and seeing bats).

There are over a million Mexican Freetail Bats in the Congress Ave. Bridge - all female. They all hunt and eat every night. We went on the Lone Star Riverboat Tour, which we heartily recommend for their knowledge and environmental concern. (And there were NO mosquitoes!)

HIGH-TECH BIRDING!   Times have changed!  Within the search area of the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a biologist discovered a large woodpecker feather. Cornell's Laboratory of Ornithology was able to analyze the feather's DNA and compare it with an Ivory-bill's that they have on file. Unfortunately it was from a Pileated Woodpecker but it's amazing that the analysis was even possible!  

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