IM000393.JPGThe other night we were sitting outside overlooking the sea when a fruit bat came flitting unsteadily across, slid down the wall at the side, and sat at the base in a bundle.

Mac was marauding somewhere nearby, and it seemed a bad idea for the bat to be grounded.  However, though obviously alive, it made no attempt to move.  Deducing that it was sick or stunned, we put in a shoebox with holes, and left it for a while.  Later, S-i-L tipped it out onto the grass, but although alert it made no attempt to take off, so was restored to the box for the night.

Mac 3After a late session of writing I needed a good morning’s sleep, but at just before 5 a.m. the dogs started performing and woke me up.   I went out to ‘shush’ them.  In the ensuing silence I heard a scrabbling sound, and saw a box with a large ginger cat showing great interest in it.  I invited Mac to be somewhere else, and opened the box.  An upside-down bat peered at me, clinging to the edge with one claw, but didn’t move even when I took the box outside. 

Then I thought he would have more room if he clung from a top end rather than the side, so I lifted the box high and gently swivelled it.  Batty moved up to grab the top bit, spread his wings, said, ‘Thank you very much; about time!’, dropped, and flitted off into the morning at a very good lick. 

IM000394.JPGA subsequent bit of research has told me two useful things about bats: 

(1) They can actually collide with things and get stunned, particularly when relying on sight after switching off echo-location.

(2) In order to take off, they usually drop from an upside-down position and let the fall give the initial glide impetus (this is a no-brainer; we should have thought of it before).


Before going back to bed, I saw a most unusual (for me) sight.  Sunrise was happening.  So thanks to the dogs and bat I actually have a set of dawn and sunrise pictures, for once.

Sunrise 1Sunrise 2

Sunrise 3

Sunrise 4Sunrise 5© Colonialist January 2014 (WordPress)


About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Beach, Cats, Nature, Personal Journal, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. aj vosse says:

    With a view like that ‘d see a lot more sunrises!! Stunning!! 😉


  2. Tokeloshe says:

    I would never tire of that view, enjoy!
    Thank you for sharing.


  3. bluebee says:

    Shall we call you Batman from now on? The bat looks almost huggable – but they do carry diseases (e.g. they are hosts for Hendra virus so I wouldn’t want to handle one.


  4. AfriBats says:

    Hi there!

    Would you add your bat photo as a citizen-science observation to the AfriBats project on iNaturalist?:

    AfriBats will use your observations to better understand bat distributions and help protect bats in Africa.

    Please locate your picture on the map as precisely as possible to maximise the scientific value of your records.

    Many thanks!


  5. Arkenaten says:

    What a fabulous post.
    We regularly get bats flying in the early evening over the pool/pond for some reason. Midges, bugs?

    The sunrise pics are smashing. Well done you for getting up so early. lol…

    I once had a similar experience…( getting up before the crack o’ dawn (dogs making a row etc) so I wandered out around 4.30 and as I stepped onto our driveway an owl fly a few feet right over my head. I have a feeling it was into its dive and had to do an emergency pull out! Made me jump, I’ll tell you that.


  6. gipsika says:

    Btw wanted to tell you: You got a new fan (that’s now except for Meggi and the kids at school to whom she punts your books). This fan is an adult and she absolutely loved ‘Forest Circle Quest’ and is now digging into ‘Regina’. Hope she’ll post a comment. 🙂


  7. gipsika says:

    This is SUCH a sweet post! Firstly I love the sea at sunrise. That’s when my mom used to get us up early so we could experience the dawn over the sea. Thanks so much for posting these.

    Secondly, that’s a fruit bat, isn’t it? More a dweller of the twilight than the dark, a bit larger than your typical carnivorous bat, and the eyes – that was the giveaway. Fruit bats have large eyes like this one to enable them to see in the twilight, whereas other bats are… well, not totally blind but at least “blind as a bat”.

    Sweet that you & family rescued it, and well done for keeping it safe from the cat.

    Swifts, btw, also can’t take off from a sitting position. (I think swallows can.) There was a little swift years back at Medunsa that somehow got stranded, and we had to throw it into the wind for it to be able to fly again.


  8. Please forgive me if this turns into a longer story than a comment requires.

    I used to run a law firm, and their offices were in a 200 year old house. Bats routinely flew down the chimneys and got trapped, causing shrieks and potential heart attacks in conference rooms from time to time. Our bats were disoriented because they were dehydrated. Once they got some water in them, they were able to fly away on their own. (And I found an excellent roofer who sealed off the chimneys to keep the bats out permanently.)


  9. optie says:

    I think that bat dropped in for some R & R which you kindly provided. The word must be out in the animal world that Col’s house is a safe refuge. How are the mongoose doing?


    • colonialist says:

      The mongooses duly had their brood, and in the manner of their kind moved on to the next den. They believe in a roving life and like to keep a castle in Spain, a flat in London, a retreat in the Caribbean, and a chalet in Switzerland.


  10. WoooW! I LOVE the pics of the bat! Pawesome! He was lucky to find a furiend in you!


  11. footsy2 says:

    Love bats. Well done you.


  12. Sonel says:

    He is such a cutie Col! What a lovely visitor indeed! Just shows you that everything happens for a reason. Stunning sunrise shots! 😀


  13. bulldog says:

    Great bat story, but better still what a wonderful sight I miss living now in Gauteng… sunrise over the sea… beautiful…


  14. misswhiplash says:

    That was one lucky bat, and the dawn pictures are stunning. Thank you for sharing them all with us


  15. great story and what a satisfying happy ending…and as for the pics !!!!! glorious….


  16. nrhatch says:

    What a great reward for helping the little chap fly another day! Thanks, Col!


  17. disperser says:

    I echo your desire to help injured animals . . .


  18. Well done on figuring out the bat and rescuing it. What a nice reward you had with these spectacular sunrise pics. 🙂


  19. susielindau says:

    How cool are your snap shots of the bat!


  20. How cute does that bat look… glad you rescued him.
    I loved watching them fly in over the river as the sun went down ( in Sri Lanka not Scotland!)… scooby doo!
    And what beautiful sunrise photos across the waves.


  21. I love that you rescued and checked up on the bat and what a lovely sunrise you were blessed with. goodness all around.


  22. tree girl says:

    I thought that fruit bats didn’t use echo-location because they are not really in the bat family? That’s what I’ve been telling my kids. Time for more research!


    • colonialist says:

      I see some sources do say that, but I don’t believe them. If the sounds constantlly uttered by our bats aren’t used for echolocation, then they certainly are chatterboxes! I fully accepte that it may not be as good as that of the insect-eaters, though.


      • Aren’t they noisy so and sos? We used to curse them as they came in to roost in vast numbers in the evening and again when they left, equally loudly at abouit 4 am each morning. But I’m glad you rescued the stunned fruit bat.


      • tree girl says:

        Now, I remember – what we call ‘fruit bats’ are actually ‘flying foxes’ and thus not being batty they don’t use echolocation.

        We saw some flying foxes overhead last night, We used to get heaps and they would fly so low we could see their babies hanging onto them as they flew. They had their home in the Sydney Botanical Gardens and would fly over the Blue Mountains every night to get to their feeding places. But the Gardens didn’t like the damage they were doing to the trees there, and the farmers didn’t like them munching out on their fruits. So there has been a concerted effort to move them on. Where they have gone I don’t know.

        Now some of our Aussie bats and flying foxes carry a disease called lyssavirus (similar to rabies), and a scratch or a bite means certain death for humans and horses (up to 2 years after the bite) unless they receive a rabies vaccine.

        Anyway, they are beautiful creatures, and I’ve always imagined becoming a carer for sick and injured flying foxes and bats in my retirement.


        • colonialist says:

          These are typical of the myths and misconceptions surrounding bats. Megabats (including flying foxes) are true bats, and have nothing to do with foxes other than in appearance. The propensity to carry rabies-type diseases has been found to be low (though not non-existent) Fruit is not the primary food of the fruitbat. It is true that only the microbats (insect-eating) do ultrasonic echolocation, but it is theorised that the others supplement vision with ordinary sonic frequencies. Another widely-held belief is that they are dirty. Actually, they are very clean creatures.
          Insectiverous bats are vital for keeping down insect numbers, while the megabats are most important towards propagation of trees and plants. Relocation of bat colonies is generally a bad idea – but if it has to be done, can only be carried out at certain times of the year.


          • tree girl says:

            Isn’t it funny how in this information-age we can still get befuddled. You are right, they are bats, I thought I read ‘somewhere’ that they were a different species, but I am mistaken.

            We have had quite a few deaths here from lyssavirus, the last one being an 8 year old boy. That was a sad story, the parents not linking a scratch from a bat with the boys’ illness until it was too late to administer the vaccine. The authorities want everyone to know so they can act quickly if scratched or bitten.

            I am very sad that the authorities relocated the bats. We had many wonderful summers with my boys playing backyard cricket into the night, and the bats swooping down to feed on the insects attracted to the floodlights.


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