Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where the bat bags are

In my last post I mentioned that after the bats are captured in mist nets, we figure out what species they are, and then they go into small cloth bags. Most of them seem to settle down and rest in the bags. When there are lots of bats coming into the nets, then a single bag can contain up to a half-dozen bats. Then the bat bags go inside someone's jacket to keep them toasty warm. Here you can see Dylan in his job as bat bag repository. This is a very cool job, but sometimes has its drawbacks. For example, some species have a strong musky odor. Or sometimes the bats pee or poop in their bags. Then you get a pungent souvenir of the evening that hopefully won't last longer than the next laundry day. Alternatively, sometimes the bats in the bag are very active, or even agitated. Last night for awhile I held a bag of Big Brown bats against my chest in my sweater. Big browns are famous for being feisty. They tried to bite me through the bag and every once in awhile would chatter and squirm. When I held my hand over them with gentle pressure they calmed down and were just a nice heart warmer.


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