Badass of the skies

 

Photo by Merlin Tuttle.

In honor of International Bat Appreciation Day, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite bats, Antrozous pallidus. Commonly known as the Pallid bat, this species can often be found in desert habitats ranging from Canada to Mexico. They even reside right here in Nevada!

These adorable badasses are very skilled hunters who eat half of their body weight each night! What’s more fascinating than how much they eat is WHAT they eat. Pallid bats have very large ears and listen for their prey’s footsteps while stalking them on the ground. They typically consume a variety of large insects, but have also been known to eat centipedes, rodents and even lizards. Their claim to fame, however, lies within the fact that they will feast on scorpions since they are immune to their venom. A Pallid Bat wrestling with a scorpion is an incredible sight to behold!

Pallid bats will also go after cardon cactus nectar in a display that is quite entertaining. Since they don’t have long noses or muzzles to aid in their quest, they literally shove their head and torso into night-blooming cactus flowers. This comedic act results in the bat’s fur being covered in pollen, and as they visit more flowers, the pollen is widely dispersed. This mutually beneficial relationship between Pallid bats and the plants they visit makes them highly effective pollinators.

Bats are some of the most vilified and misunderstood animals on the planet. Most of their activity goes unnoticed by humans during the night, yet we all reap the benefits of their contributions to the ecosystem. It takes nothing more than a pursuit of knowledge and an open mind to see what magnificent, valuable creatures they truly are.

Photo by Merlin Tuttle.

Photo by Merlin Tuttle.

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