The Power of Bat Photos

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Stellaluna was brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated by one of our first Bat Fans, Janell Cannon. It’s the story of a baby fruit bat who gets separated from its mother. Since publication in 1993 this book has been translated into 30 languages. Stellaluna is a classic that significantly helped to endear kids, big and small, to if not love bats, at least appreciate them better, much the same as Merlin’s photographs.

 

In fact, Janell credits Merlin’s 1986 National Geographic article “Gentle Flyers of the African Night,” about epauletted fruit bats, for inspiring Stellaluna.

Janell recently emailed Merlin to share one of her community presentations, explaining how much she appreciated free use of his website photos. We love, love, love this kind of feedback! It Illustrates one of the many ways our website photos are making a difference for bats. As Bat Fan numbers grow, we’re happy to see the wide variety of creative uses individuals and institutions are making of our website gallery. Please share with us how you’re using our photos in your corner of the world to make it better for bats and people. (more…)

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Field Guide to Amazonian Bats

The Field Guide to Amazonian Bats by Adria López-Baucells, Ricardo Rocha, Paulo Bobrowiec, Enrico Bernard, Jorge Palmeirim and Christoph Meyer is a giant step forward for the world’s most diverse bat assemblage. As one who has spent years identifying and photographing Amazonian bats, I’m exceedingly well impressed with all aspects of this publication, not just its clear and well-illustrated keys, but also with the quality and completeness of photos and the strong conservation orientation. I’m proud to have contributed in a small way.
-Merlin Tuttle

Please download and enjoy The Field Guide to Amazonian Bats!

Pictured is a spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum), one of the many unique Amazonian bats. This is the largest New World bat, with a wingspan of nearly three feet. It is a carnivore that feeds on a wide variety of small vertebrates, including rats, birds and small oppossums. Mates appear to take turns hunting for food versus baby-sitting. They live in large, hollow trees.

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“Bats and Viruses” Book Review by Merlin Tuttle

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Bats and Viruses, edited by Lin-Fa Wang and Christopher Cowled, provides the first summary of current knowledge on how bats and viruses interact. It is an invaluable resource for all who are concerned about bats, whether from a public health or a conservation perspective. Given the rate of viral discovery it is commendably up-to-date.

 

Viral discoveries, distribution, potential for zoonoses, best practices, research biases and areas in need of further investigation are thoroughly covered.

Bats appear to serve as reservoir hosts for several of the world’s deadliest diseases. However, as noted, transmission to humans or their livestock is rare, and in most cases can be easily avoided. Advice not to eat bushmeat, handle unfamiliar animals, mix unquarantined wildlife in markets or plant fruit trees where flying foxes can be lured into close proximity to livestock is appreciated.

Numerous biases and possible misinterpretations are explained. Viral reservoirs cannot be confirmed based on mere presence of viruses or antibodies, and those found in bat guts or feces may come from insects or other foods. Also arthropods such as mosquitoes can simultaneously infect more than one species with identical zoonotic viruses, giving a false impression of transmission between incidental hosts.

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“Bats in the Slats” by Thomas R. Ryan

photo (1)92-year-old Tom Ryan is our latest Bat Fan! He’s also the author of a new children’s book titled Bats in the Slats.

Written like a Dr. Seuss poem, Grampa Buzz teams up with a family of bats under his deck to get rid of the rats that are raiding his garden and making a mess.

Tom, the cool grampa that he is, wrote this bedtime story for his grandchildren’s amusement. He hopes through books like this, kids will see bats as heroes rather than villains. Now where have I heard that theme before?

Order a copy of Bats in the Slats for the holidays! Thank you, Tom!

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Good press for bats!

Minor epauletted bat (Epomophorous labiatus minor) from  Kenya. Hip hip hooray, more good press for bats! First the Wall Street Journal did a glowing review of Merlin’s book, “The Secret Lives of Bats,” and it made Amazon’s Top Ten of the Month list; then our hometown paper, the Austin American-Statesman wrote about the history of Austin’s bridge bats and the role Merlin played; and now an article by the Huffington Post about Merlin and his passion to reveal the truth about bats, the world’s most misunderstood mammal!

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The Bats of Trinidad and Tobago, A Field Guide and Natural History

 

Bats of Trinidad and Tobago is one of the finest books thus far published about bats. It is Bats of Trinidad and Tobago Coverthoroughly researched, provides comprehensive coverage of one of the world’s richest bat faunas and is outstandingly illustrated. It is an easy and fascinating read for the layperson yet will also serve as an essential reference work for professional bat biologists. Anyone interested in bats should own a copy.

Geoffrey Gomes is a leading Trinidadian naturalist who is also a self-taught expert on local bats. As a naturalist, he provides broad ecosystem insights and a wide variety of fun folklore and practical advice not often covered by traditional bat biologists. Fiona Reid is unsurpassed in her knowledge of Latin American bats, has authored a wide variety of books on mammals, and is internationally recognized as a leading wildlife illustrator, specializing in bats. Having spent substantial time in the field with both authors, I am well aware of the depth of their knowledge and delighted to highly recommend the outstanding result of their co-authored partnership.

This book provides thorough, jargon-free coverage of bat natural history with special emphasis on the essential ecosystem roles of bats. Readers will learn the benefits of conserving and living harmoniously with bats, overcome needless fear, find solutions to occasional nuisance problems and be endlessly fascinated by bat sophistications and contributions to human wellbeing. The entire book is lavishly and extraordinarily well illustrated. It is the only source for life-size illustrations of all 70 species of bats known from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

–By Merlin Tuttle

On the Trinibats website you can look inside the book and see some of Fiona’s life-size bat artwork, Merlin’s photographs (a couple of my own got in!) and also read some of the enthusiastic endorsements. When ordering your copy, please use the links below.

Geoffrey Gomes and Fiona Reid demonstrating bats to BCI members in Trinidad.
Geoffrey Gomes and Fiona Reid demonstrating bats to BCI members in Trinidad.
Book availability: 
www.batgoods.com — U.S. and Canada
Price: 40.00 USD
www.nhbs.com — Latin America, Caribbean (except Trinidad and Tobago), Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific regions, and everywhere else. 
Price: 24.99 Pound Sterling

 

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Merlin’s Book and Bulgaria

After arriving home from South Africa on the 1st of May, Merlin immediately began work revising his manuscript titled Adventures of the Real Bat Man. Intended as a story-telling introduction to the amazing world of bats, it is now in press with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the first round of editing has been completed. And there will be LOTS of bat photos in it! Prior to making final photo selections for the book, Merlin wants a few more photos of bats catching insects, one of the more difficult challenges in bat photography.

To that end, we leave tomorrow for Bulgaria. Merlin will provide a public bat lecture in Sofia at the British Consulate on Saturday. Then we’ll drive north from Sofia to the Siemers Bat Research Station in the village of Tabachka. Located near the Romanian border, and surrounded by hundreds of caves, the area supports 23 of Bulgaria’s 33 bat species. We’ll be joined in Sofia by bat research colleagues, Daniela Schmieder and Antonia Hubancheva, both of whom are exceptionally experienced in captive maintenance and training of insect-eating bats.

The combination of Dani and Toni’s special knowledge and help, bat research facilities and diverse and abundant bats, combined with enthusiastic invitations to visit, was too much for us to resist. We hope to have internet connections there, so stay tuned for progress reports!

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