Around the World in 50 Weeks goes Batty in South America!

Ethereal (click on image to be taken to Batworld homepage)

I am sure you know that  “bats are the realization of the Fairy of the Wood, keeper of the caves, custodians to the secrets of the night”, right?  Take a look at Ethereal and tell me this isn’t true! Ethereal is one of the rarest bats in the world, an albino micro bat, only spotted about once every 7-10 by bat experts. By bat or fairy or albino luck, Ethereal was discovered  looking for safety and a home at Bat World’s wild sanctuary. She was discovered in a very malnourished and dehydrated state and rushed to their hospital, where she recovered rapidly under their expert care. As you can imagine, completely white albino bats are easy prey for nocturnal predators hence one reason for their rarity. Like most albino animals, albino bats are prone to ill health and short lives, but at least Ethereal’s chances of survival and a safe life are guaranteed in this sanctuary.

In many species, albinos are ignored or rejected by their peers, but this is not the case with free-tail bats. Ethereal was accepted by the other free-tail bats at Bat World Sanctuary and she is now free and happy flying around her large cage with the others at night.

I would like to recommend two children’s books to you today by a Facebook friend, Kelly Millner Halls, who has written a gripping nonfiction book called Albino Animals, a particular area of interest of mine (this includes Miss Vicki, an albino pug, who wears “doggles” to protect her ultra sensitive eyes from sunlight)

– and Kelly has included Ethereal’s rescue story in a National Geographic Book to be published in October 2012, Tiger in Trouble. Don’t miss this!

Brazilian/Mexican Free Tailed Bats

  • Mexican Free-tailed bats can fly up to 60 miles (97 kilometers) an hour with the help of tail winds.
  • They go as high as 10,000 feet (3048 meters), up where planes fly.
  • No other kind of bat in the world forms such large colonies.
  • These bats are most common in central Texas and Mexico, but also live in much of western North America and areas of Central and South America.
  • They don’t just live in caves, but find homes in protected places like mines, tunnels, hollow trees, and under bridges.
  • Bats made a contribution to the Civil War: In 1863, a gun powder factory was built in Texas that got a key ingredient, saltpeter, from bat guano. (from National Geographic Kids)

Video of Ethereal

The monosyllabic English nomenclature for these animals lacks the poetry of other languages to my mind. Compare “bat” to the Italian “pipistrello”! Or the the imagery of the French, “chauve-souris” – bald-mouse, or German, Fledermaus – loosely translated flying mouse.

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8 Responses to Around the World in 50 Weeks goes Batty in South America!

  1. I’m so glad Ethereal got a second chance at life — and that you’ve alerted us to her story. I’m also glad that the person holding her had his fingers in the picture, so we could see how unbelievably tiny she is!

    I hadn’t realized that albino animals have such problems in the wild. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  2. Joanna, fascinating post on albino bats. What a tough time albino animals have in the wild. Have had many encounters with bats and they haven’t been positive. But Ethereal is cute. The books sound great for kids that like animals. Sorry I haven’t been able to respond to your blogs and others. Bad wifi connections and I have been busy. Couldn’t e-mail either.

    • Joanna says:

      Sorry you have had bad encounters with bats, mine have luckily been all good. I wasn’t expecting a comment while you were on vacation, Pat, you are amazing!

  3. Cathy Mealey says:

    PIPISTRELLO = Absolute best word of the week!
    Thank you for a super interesting post and my new word obsession! I did a sixth grade science fair project on albinism and melanism, but getting information then was difficult. Would have loved Kelly’s book in my middle school library!

  4. Joanna says:

    Cathy, there are many Italian words I love, like farfalla for butterfly! Kelly’s books would be great in the classroom for sure!

  5. Laurie says:

    I’ll look in to both of those.

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