Heavy and unpredictable rains made field photography in Brunei difficult. It was a great relief when we were finally able to obtain mealworms so we could keep tiny woolly bats (Kerivoula hardwickii) in our studio. Weighing less than a US nickel, they had been considered too small to be kept in captivity longer than overnight. But under Merlin’s watchful eye, we were able to tame and keep a cast of four. In fact, they turned out to be some of the most fun bats we’ve worked with. By the second night they had learned to come to our hands for mealworms without our even trying to teach them, and soon learned to get Merlin’s attention when hungry by literally getting in his face.
Finally having found our lost luggage and acquiring mealworms, all we needed was tame bats of varied personalities and talents. Among the four bats we kept, only one cooperated for portraits. Another emerged from a Nepenthes hemsleyana perfectly for our first and only shot of a woolly bat leaving a pitcher, but never performed again for any picture we needed. Two others, who seemed least likely initially to perform, became stars days later when we needed photos of bats entering pitchers. View more photos in our gallery!