Batty? You Have Company

Hanging around the house all day during the pandemic getting you down? There are those whose daily routine is to always hang around – upside down.

When you write for internet travel magazines and you don’t travel, you have to get creative with your topics. So we dug into our travel archives to find subjects that were not of particular interest at the time we experienced them, but now, under different circumstances, might be.  Looking for a “hanging around” twist, we found a topic. So, for better or worse, here’s our story.

Flying-fox bats

When we last visited Sydney, Australia we were intrigued by the local flying-fox bats. Named because they bear a distinct resemblance to a fox with wings; they are also called fruit bats because of their diet.

A simple bat brief

Bats are the only flying mammals. They range in sizes from tiny mouse-sized insectivorous bats to the large gruesome blood-sucking man/beast bats of Dracula’s Transylvanian folklore. Somewhere in the middle is the gray-headed flying-fox bat of Lachlan Swamp in Centennial Park, Sydney. These medium-sized bats can weigh up to 2 pounds and have a wingspan of 3 feet.

The flying-fox bat is different from many other bats in that it uses its eyes to see, nose to smell, and eats fruits rather than praying on insects.

Sleeping by day, the fox bat hangs from de-foliated trees looking like so many drooping figs. But, there are thousands of them in a colony, and standing under a canopy of fox bats can be eerily reminiscent of the quiet scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” It would certainly make one uneasy should they all decide to take flight at the same time.

The main food source for the flying-fox bat is the protein-rich pollen of the Eucalyptus flower. This particular bat is an important pollinator of the eucalyptus and similar forests of eastern and northern Australia.

Fellow travelers

The fox bat can fly around 65 miles in one night, therefore providing an important genetic link to fertilizing fragmented forests across open spaces and towns. Flying such long distances is not within the capability of lesser pollinators like birds, bees, and butterflies.

Like so many other species, the flying-fox bat numbers are slowly decreasing as its food sources are diminishing. Too bad, because the cuddly little leathery creatures are quite cute if you look closely.

It sure will be nice to get back to traveling.

A fellow adventurer, Christine Allen made a short video of the flying-fox bat. Click here and enjoy.

Happy travels.

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Copyright © 2020 Visit great vacation destinations with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos Copyright © 2020 Judy Bayliff. Video by Christine Allen.

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