It was a very hot day in the lowveld, the thermometer indicated 40 degrees celsius in the shade. I was visiting some friends in the area of Gravelotte and while chatting and planning a visit to Kruger, a brown shape by the thatch roof caught our attention. When we got closer, we saw this female Wahlberg epaulette fruit bat hanging on the tarp below the roof; instead of hanging from a branch, she chose another spot to spend the heat of the day. I read that bats do not cope well with extreme heat and possibly that was the reason for this strange roosting choice. As I had never seen a bat so close before, I went to fetch my camera and I took some photos of her, without disturbing them. The sighting of the baby was very special, as it was holding onto the mom under the wing, possibly sleeping or even suckling at occasions.
I personally find bats extremely interesting creatures for their social structure, habits and look. Fruit bats are the most good looking as they have large eyes and are usually larger than the insectivorous ones.
I hope that this photo will inspire people to do more research on bats and their vital role in nature!
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Clare Disano • Editor