What a Little Bat Taught Me.....

Years ago I had the great opportunity to study local bat populations.

At first thought, you might think "Oh, those horrible, evil, devilish creatures that creep out of the shadows of the night to suck our blood.... I shudder to even think of seeing one."

Pre-conceived notions and generations of folklore, myths, books and movies have left a lot of people feeling afraid - preferring to even avoid the thought of them.

Putting my own pre-conceived notions aside, I jumped into their world and even had the pleasure of raising 2 abandoned infants. My work with the bats would prove to be enlightening, to say the least.

Right away I could tell these creatures were gentle, social creatures who were very curious and very intelligent.

One of my bats, Virgil, was a cute little brown bat, and after getting a clean bill of health, would rest inside my shirt pocket for warmth and motherly love.

He kind of looked like this one......only a bit darker and not such dorky ears.


When he got older, he would greet me with a few short clicking noises. If I had a big juicy moth for him, he would show his excitement with a long series of 'clicks and zip' noises. When he was learning to fly, he was just like any other timid baby, and needed a little encouragement before taking the plunge and landing on my shoulder. He didn't bite once, even when his wing got broken one day after getting tangled in some wire. Off to the vet's we went to take care of it. Like any other baby, he cried in his own little bat way. He sat in my hand and let the vet create a little splint just his size. It was a first for the vet and like any mother, I felt so bad for Virgil in pain, trying to comfort him. He did amazingly well for a little guy.

Unfortunately, I only have a few grainy photos from back then, but the point is this - Virgil taught me the true value of overcoming pre-conceived notions and approaching the world with a sense of discovery and being open to possibilities. Of course, this doesn't mean I'm about to jump into a tiger pen at the zoo and offer to play a game of tag.

Whether you snap photos or create illustrations, having an open mind is vital to 'seeing' the elements that give the picture it's purpose and finding the deeper meanings in the world around us that we might have previously overlooked or avoided. You never know what you'll discover.

Photo credits: Steve Byland.
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February 23, 2011

That was educative.
Reminds me of the birds that decided to make nest on our terrace. I kept a close watch on its progress and started recording it in still photographs. Soon they got used to me and allowed me to take real close up of the babies as eggs and then as fledlings. I completed the process till the last young one flew away and wrote about it (in 3 installments) in my blog.
What I am trying to say is that during the whole process, I got to learn a lot about these birds and their habits and how they lack space in this concrete jungle.


August 08, 2008

So cute ,it really changed my scaring impression of bat.Don't have prejudice to anything.


July 12, 2008

what a wonderful story, thanks for sharing!


July 09, 2008

Wonderful story and post! It's full of all sort of useful information. Isn't it rewarding to give something lost a good life.


July 09, 2008

Hi Littlemac,

Since Virgil was so tiny when I first got him, it would have been near impossible to 'send him home' with the abilities he needed to survive but I wish I could have. It would have meant crawling in the tiny spaces of the shingles of the abandoned house I found him to see if he was adapting and being accepted. lol... I can say that he had a happy life but did eventually die a few years later. But that's the nature of nature.

Forgot about this, but here he is when he was awarded Pet Of the Day!


July 09, 2008

Did Virgil get to fly in the real bat world and start a family? Did he find his own bat cave? What happened to Virgil?

I agree with your comments. Preconceived notions can certainly play a part in the stagnation of our lives. They tend to be the focus causing a distraction that limits the ability to see all around the subject. What is it that gives it the mystery or envelopes the subject to create that moment of interest!

Please... what happened to Virgil?