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Bat In Flight - Brazilian Free-Tail

10.31.2004 - WooOOOoooOOO!! Happy Halloween! I've come to suck your blood! I mean, I've come to professionally remove the colony of bats from your attic while everyone else has fun partying and trick-or-treating.

This is my best photo of a bat in flight thus far. I took it on a normal bat exclusion job. When I block bats out of their home - and remember, I don't trap or kill them - they swirl around, trying to get back in. They eventually give up and go elsewhere, but not before I have a chance to get a snapshot of them flying about. Timing and focus are difficult for me when taking pictures of bats, because I never know just where and when a bat will fly near my lense. Plus, my crappy camera has autofocus and an annoying delay. So it's basically hit or miss for me, with a whole lot more of the latter than the former. However, I got lucky in this particular case, and got a decent shot of a Brazilian Free-Tail on the wing.

I've noticed that the tail seems to shrink when flying as opposed to crawling around. I guess that hind membrane just kind of folds up around the tail, and the tail looks about a half-inch long or more. However, when flying, one can barely see the protruding tail. Those membranes by the way, are astoundingly thin. When a bat folds up its wings, they just disappear. Check out some other photos of mine, and you'll see that the wings turn into thin little sticks. That giant bat flying around terrorizing women and children, ready to eat your pets in a single gulp, turns into a tiny mouse-sized thing when it lands and roosts.

If you look at this photo, you'll notice how velvety the wings appear - not at all leathery, as I've heard bat wings described before. Leather is thick and tough. Velvet is thin and ...velvety. These wings are so thin, in fact, that I've taken photos in which I can see the objects on the other side of the wing. That's right, they're transparent. No... translucent. No... more like diaphanous. Yes, bat wings are diaphanous. They're also hand. Bat wings are hand. Bats are of the order Chiroptera, meaning "hand-wing. So if you look at the above photo, you see an arm with an elbow, and then a hand with very thin fingers protruding out, with the membrane stretched across to make the wing.

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