For Allen, I love you Batman! Happy Birthday!
Flying in the sky I can see everything. I send out a beep and the landscape lights up. It’s a fantastic feeling, flitting and reeling up high. I am a California Leaf Nosed Bat. My name is Macrotus Californicus, . . . uh, is that hard to remember? I suppose you can call me Mac. I’m nocturnal, that means I forage at night, and sleep during the day. Oh and if you don’t know, forage means to find food.
It’s summertime, and I am foraging as usual. I spot the largest, most delicious looking moth ever. I am out alone, possibly not being as careful as I should be. All of a sudden I realize I am not really alone. A great falcon is chasing me. I dodge left then right. I veer toward the safety of a cottonwood tree, and am almost there when the Falcon grabs my right wing. I struggle, and thrash, then I see another terrifying sight, a huge form leaps up from the ground. It is a ringtail. It jumps and wrenches me from the talons of the powerful bird. CRACK! Uh-oh, I think my wing broke! The falcon flies off, angry that he missed his meal. While I have escaped one predator, I am now in the clutches of another. The ringtail carries me down to his den, where he knows he is safe. “Wait!” I squeak. Wouldn’t you rather eat thousands of bats, instead of just one small bat?” The ringtail seems intrigued. “I know of a maternity colony, you could have thousands of bats, just let me show you.” I tell him. ” How do I know that you won’t just fly away? he asks, I point to my broken wing. ” I see,” He answers, “but if this is a trick you won’t live long to regret it.” I tremble and wonder what to do next.
The next night we set out under the cover of darkness. I riding on his back, and he keeping to the shadows of low lying shrubs and brushes. We have to travel slowly so that we’re not caught by larger predators. We travel for awhile before my keen ears hear a flittery flapping above my head. It’s other bats, out finding food. We bats have a secret language that other animals can’t hear, it’s at a higher frequency (that means our voices are really high). I use my secret language to call to my friends. I warn them that I am coming with an enemy, and they should get everyone ready for an attack. Then they are gone, and I am alone again, except for my unfortunate companion.
As we approach the cave, I send out a lone “bop” to let them know we are here. At first nothing happens and I wonder if the rest of the colony hasn’t simply retreated farther into the cave for safety. The ringtail approaches the mouth of the cave, and peers in, “Where’s the fluttering of thousands of wings, bat? I don’t see my big meal ticket.” I try to fly from his back but fall. I try to run away, but my legs are pretty much useless on the ground, and I stumble. He catches me and dangles me above his open mouth, “At least I still have a little meal.” he says. I close my eyes, and prepare to be gobbled to pieces. Then I hear it again, the magical flutter of wings, it’s stronger now though. There are thousands of wings, the whole colony must be attacking. I feel myself thrown to the ground, and look up to see the ringtail sillouhetted in the moonlight, swarmed by thousands of bats. He resembles a cactus, with prickly winged needles. They chase him far away. Then a few nurse bats help to bring me back to the roost and set my wing to heal properly. A few weeks later, and I will be able to forage again. Hopefully a more cautious bat than before.
If you like my stories, then make sure to subscribe for email updates (you will get exactly one a week). Then click a button and share with your friends!