Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bats - possible uses for mankind

At dinner tonight the Man Who Cooks and I were lamenting the lost opportunity for eradicating the huge colony of bats in one fell swoop (apt phrasing there) when they were still roosting in the tens of thousands (endangered - yeah, right) in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. A few evenings of controlled release of deadly gases would have done the trick. But no - they were herded to a prepared site which the bats of course settled into as per plan - NOT! In reality they wound up in gardens all around Melbourne.

But what else has mankind missed out on? What use could we put these critters to? I thought of their dreadful leathery wings - wow - that would make great material for binding books with. Durable and waterproof. Waterproof? says the MWC. Then wouldn't they make the perfect umbrellas? The ribs form the frame, you'd just need to stitch together enough sets of wings to give coverage, and attach a conventional umbrella shaft and handle. I await further suggestions from readers.

By the way, the previous post on household chores was sent to me by my mother in an email and is not some clever thing that I made up. I tried to add an explanatory note in that post, but had a devil of a time getting rid of underlining of text that was carried over from the email. Even though I got rid of the underlining of the original text, any text I wanted to add was underlined, so I gave up.


Jude said...

The answer to your question, Val, is that these bats should be EATEN. When I lived in PNG (many years ago now), flying fox was considered a delicacy by the local people. They said that the flesh was very sweet, reflecting their fruit-based diet.

Fruit bats were also a traditional food of the Australian Aboriginal people and there are accounts of the early settlers eating them too.

To quote a 1998 paper by an N.T. academic, entitled 'An indigenous perspective on flying fox harvesting':

'Flying foxes are one traditional food and medicine which could be sustainably harvested for commercial purposes. We have harvested these animals and others sustainably in the past, and have traditional knowledge of their interaction with the environment.'

An ideal solution!

Val said...

Ideal solution indeed! Actually, the Man Who Cooks did wonder about how they would go in a stew.

Now if we could also adapt the New Zealanders' attitude towards possums (i.e. they're PESTS!) and be allowed to make fur coats out of them, that would be an ideal solution to another problem. I have a possum jacket from New Zealand and a more comfortable winter garment you will not find. One year I was in Munich during a blizzard, temperature was -23º C (-9.4ºF). I was wearing my possum jacket and only a thin blouse - warm as toast.

Robert said...

First of all, bats and rats really creep me out, as do all reptiles. I never could watch that Australian, Steve Irwin, on television because the animals really disturbed me.

I understand that in parts of Missouri (state with large bat population) they have special exterminators for bats.

I'm not suggesting you do anything illegal, but if a few bats found their favorite roosts were to suddenly explode as soon as they were getting comfortable, that might help get your message across. Also, a few threatening letters to the leaders of the bat colonly after such an "accident" just might help them remember who was there first!

Be sure you wear latex gloves when you cut the letters out of magazines for your notes. Paper picks up fingerprints. If anything should "happen" to the bats, I'll lie under oath for you.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

So now you're going to make batwing books...Are you going to copyright this idea...heavens we wouldn't want anyone else getting hold of this great idea. *LOL*

Oh, gross! Whose going to clean the tasty little critters for the stew.

Come to think of it, that would be perfect. You could use the batwings for books, OR the umbrellas and after you ate the little critters you could harvest their little rib bones, like the MWC's said for the frame of the umbrella. That way there wouldn't be any bat waste...or wasted bat.

Oh, Val...I can just envision you two at the table having this bat conversation over dinner and laughing your tails off, as I was doing reading your post. These bats of yours must be really big...Not like our teensy ones.

How about you sell them as live mosquito catchers with the catch phrase that says, "Why use harmful insecticides that can damage your planet when one of natures marvels, the bat, can do the job safely & economically.
Just build them a little house right in your back yard and you'll never be bothered by mosquitos again." You could sell them to foreign tourists.

Val said...

Robert, don't worry, I have fantasised about how I could bring about an abrupt end to these creatures, and I have just posted an article about some kids who tried to do something about it. I've had a reader from the South hint at some Southern methods of bat extermination being a surefire solution. Wonder what they are!

AIP, the Australian flying fox is the largest bat in the world with a wingspan of up to 79 inches. Readers of my previous posts have pointed out that bats are good for eating mosquitos - they're falling down on the job in that department here.

The MWC also thought that the claws hanging down from the bat umbrellas could come in handy for hanging things on.

Kerri said...

You're sure getting your money's worth of post material out of the bats, if nothing else, Val!
If people didn't want to eat them (and I'm saying ewww at the thought, which is silly, I know, considering other things we eat), then perhaps they'd make good pet food.
The wacko environmentalists often do a lot more harm than good to our environment. Too often there's no logic in their thinking.