Indonesian Short-nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopterus titthaecheilus) Eats a Banana
Recently, we managed to rescue this bat, which was unable to fly more than a hop's distance on the ground. We kept it in a bird cage and throughout the day (and night), left various fruits (banana, papaya, rambutan) hanging from the top. Very quickly, it would latch onto the fruit and spend the next hour or however long it took hanging and gorging on the sweet morsel. And when we walked past the cage, it would turn and watch us, both diligently and intently, as though to beckon for another piece of fruit or sip of sugary water.
I don't know the exact issue it had, but finally, after several nights of trying, it started to find the strength to fly again. I tried to remove it from the cage, and it bit me several times (side note: it's not wise to handle bats without gloves and being vaccinated for rabies!), each time notifying me of its displeasure with an adorable, high-pitch bark (or was it a squeak?). That was sign enough to me that it had its strength back! With some cajoling, I got our little friend out of the cage and outside. After a few hops, it lifted off the ground and sailed across a small canal, clutching onto foliage on its slippery walls. That's not too safe a place for a recovering bat, so I picked it up with a rake to place it on higher ground, and—just like that, our friend leapt off the rake and soared over the canal and into the night sky. In my last sight of it, it was turning confidently into some trees, leaving us with nary a thank you or goodbye.
I have to admit, I miss the bat's diligent watch over the kitchen, and the delight it took in every piece of fruit we gave it. It even seemed to be smiling sometimes. But, well, bats are not meant to be pets. And I hope that wherever it is now, it's munching on something sweet and delicious.
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By Joaquim Baeta. The files associated with this video are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. You are free to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon them in any medium or format, even for commercial purposes, provided you give appropriate credit to Joaquim Baeta.
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