Bat lives in The Sea Ranch and we are lucky to have him. He flies like a bird, but the scientists tell us that he is a mammal of the order Chiropetera. Chiropetera comes from two Greek words meaning hand and wing. The reason for this strange name is that Bat is the only mammal that has a true wing, but does not flap it like a bird does. Instead, he flaps the spread out webbed fingers of his hand. Apparently we don't have a good handle on his genealogy because we have not yet found very many fossils, but some scholars tell us that Bat may be related to Hippopotamus and Dolphin. We are not experts on the subject of his relatives, but our bat is somewhat smaller and is usually called Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifugus.


Once you get to know Bat he's kind of cute, if very shy. He lives all over the ranch, but fortunately really likes to be around our houses. He is an insectivore and loves to be out at dusk and in the early morning when the bugs are out and about. We have not calculated how many bugs he eats every evening, but it is a lot. He lies up during the day in a roost and uses another roost while he is out hunting during the evening and night. You probably won't see him in his hunting roost, but the next morning you might find some small hard black pellets on the ground below it. These are processed bugs. The way in which he unerringly finds these bugs in midair without the benefit of any light is amazing. The fact that he picks and chooses between bugs is close to unbelievable. It is all done by sending out high frequency calls and listening carefully to the echoes. His seemingly erratic flight is, in fact, a carefully choreographed ballet designed to provide dinner on the wing. If he is flying around while you out for a walk, don't worry, he absolutely will not run into you. His sonar is just too good for that kind of an error.

When the subject turns to mythology, things get really interesting with Bat helping witches cast spells and work black magic in dark corners of virtually every part of the globe. In some cultures, Bat symbolizes the underworld and death. He is frequently associated with evil characters like Dracula and nasty blood drinking vampires. On occasion, he makes it onto the good side of the ledger with a Batman, but that is very rare. As a result of all of this negativity, many people are afraid of Bat. Here, in The Sea Ranch he has never been known to do anything bad - quite the contrary. Those of us that live in wooden houses appreciate the fact that he likes to eat termites.

King James I of Aragon is said to have been helped my Bat
to win Valencia during the Christian Re-conquest of Spain