Follow SCA Intern Jon Whiting

Weighing a captured bat

I Think I’m Batman

Weighing a captured bat. Thursday. Hour ‘til midnight. It’s warm. 76. Fahrenheit. Not Celsius. Probably implied though. We Americans are hipsters when it comes to our measurement of temperature. Anyways. 90% humidity. 4 people. 2 nets. Thousands of bats to capture at our fingertips. Well not literally… There are over 1,200 species of bat, but we were mostly looking at the 8 species common to the area. Mis-netting was the game. And I was feeling a little catchy-y. We used a small, high-placed net to catch the little buggers, checking every 10-15 minutes. Probably ought to use something like it to catch nighttime criminals; these fine nets pick up everything, and they’re almost impossible to see. From about 8:30 pm to midnight, we caught 3 bats, all of the Southwestern Bat variety. One was in the lactation stage of her reproductive cycle. I was actually a little disheartened that she was already so far along, as I throw killer pup (baby bat) showers. This was an extra significant life event for me because I got over a long-held fear of mine. No, it wasn’t toddlers who steal all the pepperonis off of pizzas; I’ve been over that one for some time. Nope, it was bats. These winged rodents have put the fear in me since the tender young age of 11. Every summer since the 6th grade, would get into my room from the attic and fly around, hitting me while I slept. What were they after? My blood obviously. But you guys know the story, I became the caped crusader peeling out of my driveway on my 12 speed, yadda-yadda. It’s just one of those moments that you revisit from your childhood that you never quite expect it to be so adorable and important. People may think of bats as pests, but they can actually help solve pest problems. Not only that, but through the process of chiropterophilly, they help pollinate hundreds of plants. And you know we need pollination right? So you know, like, we won’t die. So to the next bat you see, say thank you. It may not understand a word you say, but through echolocation, it will buzz around your head, catching insects and deftly invading your personal space as you scream “that thing almost took my head off, oh my god I’m going to post this on Twitter.” I think eating mosquitoes around your hair means “you’re welcome” in bat language. Oh well. ‘Til next time.

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