Going into bat for the unloved
I KNOW bats aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m prepared to go out on a limb (so to speak) and say I like ’em.
I say this well aware that they pose a definite health risk through lyssavirus. And I don’t have the kind of fruit trees that would turn our backyard into a flying fox buffet.
Despite this, I reckon they add a certain mystique to suburban life that is largely bereft of such things.
I’ll still make an effort to go outside at dusk and watch the flying fox raiding parties making their way low over the roofs towards their feeding grounds.
And with Halloween just around the corner, such a sight would surely only add a bit of theatre to trick or treating.
Which is why I’m sad that bats seemed to be shunned in death as much as they are in life.
One fallen specimen has been slowly decomposing in a Kilgour St median strip for at least five months. I know this to be true because I walk past it almost every weekday. To be fair, the corpse isn’t in all that bad a condition, all things considered. It was as leathery as a well-worn Sherrin in life and looks pretty much the same now. More obvious is its fallen comrade at the top of Moorabool St. Obvious and embarrassing. I’m not aware that bats are among the big thinkers of the animal kingdom. You never see them trying to sign with their keepers, or be tasked with predicting the winner of the World Cup every four years. So I shouldn’t be really surprised that this flying fox had the misfortune to electrocute itself — by apparently biting the power line.
Until there is some sort of intervention, it is destined to remain several metres off the ground with its teeth firmly clamped in a death grip.
The irony of a creature that spent so much of its life upside down spending its death right way up is not lost on me.
A look at our city’s skyline will show how much this city has changed, even in the past decade.
Where once there was St Mary’s spire and the cement works breaking up the horizon, now there are the Kardinia Park light towers and multi-storey office blocks. Perhaps one more tiny change to the air up there could be made, and a little dignity restored.
“Bats frighten me. It’s time the world shared my dread.” — Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins