Scary Megabats or Cute Flying Dogs?

When you think of the Seychelles you would probably conjure up images of golden beaches, leaning palm trees and azure waters.

Paradise Island

Whilst we did enjoy our fair share of these particular tropical island delights, we also decided to venture beyond the stereotypical image that you see in the holiday brochures.  There is so much more to these islands than just the beach.

Our base for the week was on Cote d’Or on the north coast of Praslin.  The first morning we were there we took a stroll down the road and found the Praslin Museum.  Apart from not remembering all the names of the endemic plant species that were growing there, many of which are used in herbal medicines, we also saw an enclosure of bats.

Check out those teeth!

In the Seychelles there is an abundance of Fruit Bats, Pteropus seychellensis, which are commonly seen flying in the early evening – thankfully way up high in the sky.  Now I am not a big fan of bats, but I went inside their enclosure for a closer look, nevertheless.

Eating in protective mode

In South Africa, they are known as Vler Muis (Flying Mouse) in Afrikaans, but these bats are somewhat larger than I would expect a mouse to be.  However, I can see how that would relate to the smaller insectivorous bats, which are more common in SA.

Thumbs up or Flicking the Bird(Bat)? You decide

[Side Note: Adele ain’t got nuffink on you, girl…]

Later in the week, we collected a brochure at Vallee de Mai – in German (it was either that or Italian as all the French and English brochures were out of print).  We were amused to see that the name for a bat in German is Flughund – Flying Dog.  Now that makes more sense and shows these bats off in a whole new light 🙂  I might even consider them to be cute!

Tucking in to a ripe slice of Papaya

Whether in the Seychelles, South Africa or anywhere else in the world, bats are vital for agriculture.  Despite always getting a bad rap – they are actually far more beneficial than they are a nuisance.  Two articles on the subject can be found on the Science in Africa and KZN Wildlife websites.

Check out Chubby Cheeks behind!

Fruit bats only eat ripe fruit, so do a great job of cleaning up after the fruit-pickers have despatched their crops to the market – before those pesky fruit flies move in.  Similarly, insectivorous bats scoff up all those unwanted flying pests, like mosquitoes.  How could that possibly be a bad thing!?

Their long tongues are useful for licking the nectar from flowers

I do believe that after seeing these bats as cute, flying woofies and reading up about them, I have a new found appreciation for these much maligned creatures of the night.

Oh yeah, this one is a male - in case any of you were wondering...

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18 thoughts on “Scary Megabats or Cute Flying Dogs?

    1. Thank you, Rowing Through Life, for your comment – I, like you, only saw them as scary flying things before I saw these guys! They have totally changed my perception of bats in general. I see them in a much more positive light now!
      I hope you get to visit the Seychelles for yourself, there’s something for everyone and it is pure paradise 🙂

    1. Thanks Madhu – I was pretty up close and personal with these guys, but they were so engrossed with eating and didn’t pay me too much interest 🙂

  1. We have these in Australia, or their cousins at least. We have them in our yard and I love them. We hear them screeching at night as they fly out looking for food. I have actually bottle fed a baby bat and they are much like human babies in that they are inquisitive and will play with the bottle and look up at you. I think they are very cute animals and much maligned as you say.

    1. I am quite used to fruit bats as there were a lot screeching around the garden where we lived in Bamako (Mali). I never ventured out to see them in greater detail as it was also the time of evening that the mosquitoes were at their busiest!
      I can imagine the pups being very cute 🙂

  2. Wow Lu! What cool photos! I saw lots of bats when I was in Cairns, Australia. I remember clearly peering into them but never ventured in their cage. Were you there on vacation or for work? Sounds like an amazing place to add to my list!

    1. Hi Nicole – you definitely need to put this place on your list. There are some hill trails on the main island of Mahé, but won’t be nearly as testing as some of your other mountain conquests!
      This was a vacation, and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that!
      I actually can’t believe I went into the cage… but I did it without thinking, and I am glad that I did!

    1. I hear you Meanderer, I do! I still “duck” whenever a bat flies past… It’s just instinct, but apparently that “bat in the hair” malarkey is nothing but old wives’ tales!! (Something to do with a bee-hive up-do, that the sonar blips go right through…)
      I also duck from Pigeons. I find them much more threatening to my otherwise peaceful demeanour!

    1. Thanks squirrelbasket – I hadn’t thought of the brolly factor, but you’re so right!
      I’m amazed at how shiny their skin on their claws is..

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