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A bat in your bra. August 29, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I have lots of friends in the biological sciences, and let’s just say, they’re not quite like other people. As medical doctors might discuss the horrific symptoms of degenerative diseases at the dinner table without giving even one second’s thought to how this graphic depiction of pain, suffering, decay and death might affect the appetites of their fellow diners, so the biologists I know have not the least clue as to how their latest obsession might affect their friends’ appetites.  

My favorite incidence of this was when my dear friend Susan, who’s the biology editor for Science News, came up from D.C. to have lunch with me and our mutual friend Rudy, who specializes in birds and orchids. We went to a country inn and placed our orders. At which point, Susan launched into an endless and extremely graphic discussion of whale decomposition. As in, at least 30 minutes of telling us in the most graphic conceivable detail about what happened after a whale died and began to decay. Needless to say, I discovered that somehow, I wasn’t hungry, and it appeared that no one else in our dining room was, either. Yet Susan, completely oblivious, continued on with her story of whale decomposition, caught up in the moment and her excitement about the topic.

She’s certainly not alone. I’ve also been subjected to hourlong talks about tarantulas, ticks, piranhas, and the like. Eeeewwww!!!! What are these people thinking?!!

Well, they’re thinking about subjects that interest them. Our friend Ben and I can relate. One or the other of us could talk about American colonial history, marbles, stamps, rocks and fossils, seashells, Jane Austen, Native American arts and artifacts, coins, plants, cooking, Reiki, our beloved pets, or you name it for hours on end. If we consider decomposing whales, tarantulas and the like revolting, that says something about us, not the speaker. But still.

I honestly didn’t think I’d ever hear anything to beat the decomposing whale story, but I think maybe I have now. You’ll just have to weigh in and tell me if I’m right. My dear friend Dana was staying with us over the weekend. She’s an ecologist who specializes in bats, which I happen to like as a backyard gardener who appreciates their consumption of gadzillion insects every night. Over breakfast at OFB’s favorite local diner, she mentioned that some of these bat people were a little bit over the top. I immediately pictured the “Twilight” contingent and the endless other vampire sagas flooding the airwaves. I could envision vampire wannabes desperately trying to capture bats for their own unfortunate ends.

Turns out, though, that’s not what Dana meant. She was actually talking about legitimate bat researchers. She’d gone to a bat conference and spent the night at the home of a couple who specialized in bat research. They raised bats, and allowed them to fly free throughout their home. During dinner, Dana said, a bat lit on her arm, crawled up, and snuck inside her bra. When Dana, a bit rattled for some reason, mentioned this to her hosts, they said, “Oh yes, that’s Sweet Pea. She always does that.” Turns out the female half of the couple had raised Sweet Pea from an infant and had reared her in her own bra.

All I can say is, the next time you’re invited for dinner to a friend’s house and their dog licks your hand, consider yourself lucky. At least their resident bat isn’t trying to crawl into your bra!

           ‘Til next time,

                       Silence

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Comments»

1. narf77 - August 29, 2012

Coming from a seaside town once a whaling port, occasionally dead whales wash up on the shore and “decompose”. The last one did it right in the height of tourist season so they exploded it with dynamite to minimise the down time (and I don’t even come from America!) ;)

Oh, dear, Fran! Why didn’t they process it for dog food or something?! Talk about a waste!

2. h.ibrahim - August 29, 2012

Yes you are quite right—dinner conversation should be edited but what a great story nonetheless!

Yes, it was a great story, but probably only because it didn’t happen to me!

3. Becca - September 2, 2012

I love the picture of that little bat snuggling up to your friend. Precious! Not that I want it happening any time soon. :)

Ha! Same here, Becca!

4. Mike Timonin - September 4, 2012

My sister does small animal bio research, which has, at times involved bats. (She was part of a project to see if bats fly into wind turbines, and part of a different project to see if putting heated nesting boxes into bat caves helped with white nose disease. Neither study was conclusive.) Currently, she’s working with field mice in California. She needed a California hunting license to trap field mice!

Wow, interesting, Mike! Bat people here in PA definitely think turbines are a factor in bat mortality, at least at certain times of year. Good grief, a hunting license for field mice! I don’t think our cats would approve…


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