Thursday, November 06, 2008

Processing bats at the Wide Awake

Of course we also did research work on Montserrat although happily it didn't involve any killing of bats. We put up nets in areas that had been studied for many previous years in order to monitor activity and populations over time. On Montserrat it's especially interesting to look at the effect on bats of volcanic eruptions (pdf). For example, when the mango trees are covered with ash, the fruit-eating bats often have very bad teeth. In fact many of the bats we caught did have discolored, ground down or even missing teeth.

Many of the places we netted were in populated areas. They may not have started out that way, but since the big eruptions what's left of the population has migrated to the northern side of the island which is now starting to get crowded. One night we netted not far from our favorite bar, Gary Moore's Wide Awake, and took the bags of bats down to the bar for processing. We just parked in front of the bar and worked out of the back of the car. Some of the bar patrons were quite interested in the work.

We were on Montserrat during the Beijing Olympics and spent several post-batting evenings consuming Carib beers and watching the big-screen TV in Gary's bar.


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