Think Bats Are Creepy? Well, Check Out These Adorable Photos.

Happy Halloween!

A minor epauletted bat from Kenya<a href=http://www.merlintuttle.com/what-is-mtbc/>MerlinTuttle</a>/MTBC

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Lots of people think bats are downright frightening. After all, they do seem to check all the creepiness boxes: They come out at night; they live in dark, scary places; they communicate via high-pitch screeching.

Now multiply that by 10.

Flying foxes, also commonly known as fruit bats, are the largest flying mammal. Their wingspans stretch up to five feet. They can weigh more than two pounds and eat three times their body weight in nectar in just one night. Just check out this video from National Geographic:

With Halloween fast approaching, bats are the subject on this week’s episode of Inquiring Minds podcast. Host Indre Vikontas talks with bat expert and educator Merlin Tuttle about these somewhat cuddly creatures that often get a bad rap. “We invariably fear most what we understand least,” he says. And it turns out that we actually have a lot to thank bats for: These long-distance migrators pollinate a lot of the fruit we eat.

Tuttle, whose recent book is called The Secret Lives of Bats, has been fascinated with all kinds of bats ever since a classmate brought one for show-and-tell way back in the fourth grade. He started exploring caves near his home in Tennessee to learn more and ended up devoting his life to bat conservation. Tuttle has photographed more than 300 species on every continent where they reside.

Click above to hear Tuttle as he tells his best bat tales, explains his most interesting findings, and recounts how his childhood fascination led to strange friendships with shot-gun-toting Tennessee moonshiners.

And while you’re listening, check out these amazing photos from Tuttle’s close-up collection:

A juvenile male Wrinkle-faced bat from Trinidad

A lesser long-nosed bat pollinating saguaro cactus in Mexico

Foot of Rickett’s Big-footed Myotis

A pallid bat catching a giant desert centipede in Arizona

Minor epauletted bat from Kenya

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest