Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Pallid Bat



Rescuing a Tangled Microchiroptera


The following morning after a rainstorm, my cat was curious about something in the bushes along the fenced area.  On closer inspection, it turned out to be a large tan bat which was caught in the twigs and could not get out.  The bat was carefully removed from the brush and then placed on a rock where it could be closely observed. 

Quickly checking on the Internet, the bat was identified as a Pallid Bat Antrozous pallidus that lives in the western U. S.

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After the Pallid had a few moments to recover, it began to spread its long wings and then it looked up, showing a mouth full of sharp teeth.  The bat showed no interest in flying off and continued to stay on the rock.  It did not appear to have any injuries and possibly was just weak from being stranded in the bush. 

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To further observe the Pallid, it was placed on a shallow cardboard box.


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 It was then moved over to a tree limb where it began to hang upside down.  The bat appeared to be in good shape but just weak. There was a concern that the bat might lose its grip and then drop to the ground where it could become the cat's treat.


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The decision was made to try and offer it some nourishment, so a ripe cherry was held close to the bat’s mouth with a pair of tweezers.


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  The bat turned to check out the cherry and then started to open its mouth and gnaw on the fruit.  


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After a few more bites, the bat closed its eyes and seemed to be ready for a nap.


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Since the cat knew of the bat's location, it was carefully relocated to the limb of a pine tree that was in the shade and more protected.  A close watch was kept on the bat for about every 15 minutes and then it was gone.  By this time, the cats were all inside napping so hopefully the bat flew off to its day time roost.  The Pallid bat has 3 different roosts: daytime in attics or rock crevices; nighttime in open areas near plants and hibernation in buildings, caves and rock crevices.


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This interesting desert mammal is a nocturnal hunter that with its large ears can hear the footsteps of insects.  Its diet mainly consists of scorpions, around 70%, but it will also eat beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, moths and mantis.  The bat catches the insects on the ground and then flies back to its night roost to dine.


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Pallid bats are thought to be immune to the scorpion’s sting and even the most poisonous Arizona bark scorpion.


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One comforting bit of information that I learned about the Pallid bat was that it has a defense mechanism in its nose where it can secrete a foul odor to ward off predators. My cats have to stay inside at night but there may be strays that come in to the yard.  I hope this bat was able to recover and will continue to live out its 14+ years, keeping my yard safe from scorpions. 


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With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

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