Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 10, 2008 / 3 Adar II 5768

The lies about this mammal just drive me batty

By Dave Barry


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There has never been a TV series where the animal hero was a bat. Why not? Why couldn't Lassie have been a bat? There could have been an episode wherein Lassie and her young master, Timmy, are frolicking around the farm, with Lassie playfully catching insects for Timmy via sonar, when suddenly ... UH-OH! Timmy is caught in the quicksand!


So Lassie flits as fast as she can back to the farmhouse, where she squeaks and hurls her tiny self against the screen door until Timmy's family, realizing that something is wrong, comes running outside and kills Lassie with a rake. Because people generally hate bats. Plus they are getting sick and tired of Timmy falling into the quicksand every other week.


Fortunately, there are people working on behalf of bats — people who study bats; who respect bats; who love bats; who have, on occasion, TASTED bats. A group of these people met recently in Miami for the 30th annual North American Symposium on Bat Research. On hand to provide retail diversion was a company called Speleobooks ("Cave and Bat Goods"), which was selling a wide array of bat-themed merchandise, including bat jewelry, bat candles, bat shirts, bat ties, bat baby clothes, bat sculptures, bat tissues, bat cookie molds, bat Christmas-tree ornaments, bat hot sauce and bat towels.


The symposium itself was a serious affair, consisting of bat researchers presenting scientific papers on such topics as "Feeding Ecology of the Naked-Backed Bats"; "More on the Complexities of Water Hole Use by a Coloradan Bat Community"; "Common Vampire Bat Management in Nicaragua"; "Is Leptonycteris curasoae an Unreliable Pollinator?"; "Is Myotis lucifugus the Mosquito Hunter of the Night?" and of course the question that is on everyone's mind: "Do Frugivorous Bats Provide Directed Dispersal for a Large-Seeded Tropical Tree?"


I talked to several bat scientists at the symposium, and here are some of the bat facts I learned:


Wherever you live in the world, there are bats nearby. In fact, LOOK OUT THERE'S ONE COMING AT YOU NOW!!!


No, seriously, although bats look like evil creepy demonettes from hell that want to swoop down and bite us and give us rabies, the truth is that they are generally harmless flying mammals just like us who form colonies, care for their young, go to the mall, etc. Statistically, the average bat is far less likely to be rabid than Pat Buchanan.


Besides catching insects, bats play a critical role in pollinating certain plants, such as the agave, without which there would be NO TEQUILA.


Even vampire bats have their human side. Researcher Ted Fleming told me that sometimes a female vampire bat will return from a successful bloodsucking trip and share her good fortune by "regurgitating to her roost mates."


Awwwww.


Many bat species are endangered because of humans, some of whom view bats as actual food. A researcher named Tom Kunz told me that in parts of Southeast Asia, bat soup and fried bat are considered tasty treats. In Guam, people have eaten pretty much all the bats. There's a bat shortage! You could become a bat rancher and get rich! Although you would need skilled bat wranglers.


Kunz also told me that the Gubu people of Papua, New Guinea (I am not making the Gubu people up), have a big feast wherein they boil up a mess of bats, cook them over coals and then eat them whole, after which they pick little bat teeth out of their mouths. Kunz said that, as a researcher, he actually took a tiny bite of this dish.


Incredibly, he did not say that it tasted like chicken.


So we see that bats have really received a "raw deal" from us humans. I think that from now on, we should all remember that bats are our friends, and we should make every effort to be nice to them while remaining at a safe distance of, in my case anyway, 14 miles. Also, if we go to a restaurant in Southeast Asia, we should make darned sure we know what we are ordering.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

In spin cycle of love, hard to be delicate
It's just not the time to thumb our nose at bagels
Latest fitness Rx for men is a yawn
My daughter's party, I'll cry if I want to
Sanguine ride on rabid transportation
One experiment worth repeating
Nothing like a good trip to help me see the light
The lord of the dance doesn't have anything on me
Invention clearly worth the brewhaha
Safe on the slopes
Why-oh-why-oh-why-oh…
A gross national columnist
Mr. Language Person: Weird word
I (cough) was a teenage smoker!
Frogs hop into the headlines
Great American turkeys
Mr. Fixit strikes again
‘Einstein Gap’: It's all relative
Lost in space
The Trojan Twinkie Caper
MR. LANGUAGE PERSON: WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!
Feeding your worst fears
Sock it to 'em, sartorially
The rubber band man
Does public art make sense?
Needling the birthday boy
On calamities (in the sky and on your head)
Modern medical mysteries
Bored games
Dave's Field of Nightmares
Lewis and Clark stepped here!
The ultimate water gun
Poetic license, with no rhyme or reason
Great moments in science
This won't hurt a bit
One giant leap for frogkind
My visit to Nether-Netherland
Smile and say cheese
Shooting carps in Wisconsin
The perfect storm
Stickup in aisle 3
Please don't feed the tourists
Land of the Frozen Earwax
The birth of wail
Honk if you're married and can't cope with anger
Rabbit ears get poor reception
Percentage of frogs in food jumps
Night of the living roach
Mr. Language Person: Some words of wisdomality
Mind your P's and Q's and teas
Loose lips sink sequels
NOW WE'RE COOKIN'!
The right to Bear clubs
Science: It's just not fair
Road warrior specials
Where's the beef? (Low fat)
There is nothing like a male (guys)
MOTIVATE! THEN FAIL! NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
Rooting for the midgets of the Midway
Revolt of the rodents
He can drive any truck named ‘Tonka’
All bets are off
How do you spell S-A-T?
Sour grapes and mud
Pro golf: A game of non-stop boredom
Guard-dog vigilance is nothing to sniff at
Warm and fuzzy Cold War memories
The funny side of ‘Beowulf’
HOLY HEAT WAVE, BATMAN!
Abs-olute madness
Beware of brainy bugs
I'm in a sorry state
The frog plague: The inside story
If she had a hammer….
Keeping an eye on crime
Camping and Lewis and Clark
When in Iowa, don't forget to duck
Junior takes the wheel
Growing old with Dave
Sites for sore eyes
Beware of sheep droppings
Ireland, land of bad Elvis
Mr. Peabrain's misadventures
When they're out to get you, keep cool
Mothers of invention
Kill 'em with kindness



© 2006, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles