Monday, August 11, 2014

Vampire bats

First, my apologies for the clickbait. These creatures are not Vampires, they don't suck blood. In fact, these bats don't even use echo-location! Whoa. This is messing with everything I thought I knew about bats! There are some interesting reads online - you really should check this one out:

  • "perhaps one should think again before eating one. The bats were a great delicacy featured at Guam fiestas and feasts. You could even find them packaged in shrinkwrap alongside the other meats such as chicken, rabbit, duck, pork, beef at the local food markets. Then, some scientists doing research on a type neural disease that was more common on Guam than any other place in the world discovered a relationship to the fact that most of the sufferers of this disease ate tortillas made with the flour of Cycad palms. This might have been the end of the story. But then, the researchers found that these same folks also ate fruitbats… and then they connected with the fact that the bats also eat the fruits of the cycad palms. When the researchers analyzed the bat’s meat, they found high concentrations of cyanide and other toxins in its meat. Since this discovery, folks on Guam do not eat the tortillas made from cycad-fruit flour or fruitbats–even if these have been a long-standing cultural custom for centuries."
I'm looking forward to my time here in Fiji. Now that I've learned a little bit about megabats I can't wait to find a biologist to tell me more about these incredible creatures! 


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