Sunday, May 2, 2010
Posted by Kay Holekamp at 12:04 PM
I recently arrived back in Kenya, and after running some inevitable errands in Nairobi, finally made it to the Mara. It is green and beautiful here right now, as we are still in the season known as "the long rains." I have lived in a tent in our bush camp for years on end, and never been bothered by the fruit bats.......until now. Over the years, virtually all my students and guests have complained at breakfast about fruit bat noises, but this has never before been an issue for me. In fact, their complaints have always seemed amusing to me. This year, however, the tables have turned. For some reason, the shrill pinging vocalizations of the epauletted fruit bats we have in camp seem extraordinarily loud to me. As with my students and visitors, these bat calls suddenly sound to me like an alarm clock going off, and they have currently the power to bring me up out of even a deep sleep. Hopefully I'll eventually readjust to these beeps, and be able once again to sleep through them, only tuning in as necessary to the actual alarm clock beside my bed. But thus far I've had to leave my tent twice in the middle of the night to shoo the bats away who were (literally) hanging out over my tent engaged in very loud conversations. The good news is that the many insectivorous bats we also have in camp are undoubtedly making an even greater racket as they chase moths throughout the night, but happily they are all talking on very high-frequency channels I don't pick up at all.