Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Cutest Thing Yet

Last week when we arrived home from a dinner party at about 10:30 PM, I noticed that something had made a small mess on the tiles of the front terrace. I looked up, and hanging from the wall near the ceiling of the terrace, its tiny claws hooked onto a peeling shard of paint, was a cute little bat. With white stripes on the face, a short but not "puggy" snout, medium-sized rounded ears and large dark eyes, it was beyond attractive - it was endearing and totally adorable. Marco shot some video of it, and about a half hour later when we checked to see if it was still there, it was gone.

The next morning, as soon as I got out of bed, I checked to see if it had returned, and it was there with another one. Marco got daytime video of them. We're pretty sure it was a mother and her offspring. One was smaller and had slightly darker-colored fur than the other. The day turned out to be drizzly & rainy, windy and notably cooler than usual. Several times, we saw the smaller bat huddled right next to the larger one, and a couple times, the little one was perched in the middle of the larger one's back. The little one slept a lot throughout the day, but I could never catch the larger one sleeping. She always had her big eyes open and watching me when I went to check - I could not sneak up on them. I felt guilty for making noise, and kept tiptoeing around, trying my best not to disturb their rest. But my efforts were probably wasted, since the bats chose a roosting spot directly below a nest of noisy House Wrens. (The zinc roof separated them.) The young wrens were fed by their industrious parents numerous times throughout that day, each time making a high-volume fuss. Despite the rambunctious wrens, the two Salvin's Big-eyed Bats (Chiroderma salvini) spent the day roosting there. (Although I've been referring to them as "little bats" throughout this post, the field guide describes them as large. My extremely limited experience with bats is apparent.) They departed sometime after darkness fell, and we have not seen them since.

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