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Rain Took This Fruit Bat’s Happy Away, a Banana Gave it Back

An Australia-dwelling flying fox needed rescue after rains drove it to search for food

(Michael Nolan/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

Not everyone thinks bats are cute. (Even though they are). But look at the little guy below—if it weren’t for that pointed tongue, you might think he was actually an odd-looking black puppy. The video was first shared at "Batzilla the Bat" on Facebook, a page run by wildlife rescuers in Australia, reports United Press International

Apparently, the male bat was found caught in netting on a fruit tree. And he was "a little feisty" until a rescuer with a banana arrived. "Banana hath charms to soothe a cranky battie!" the poster for the Batzilla group writes. (Apparently even bats get hangry.)

The flying fox was just one of several rescues lately, all due to the same cause: 

With the end of the summer growing season fast approaching, we have been blessed with abundant rainfall. Rain is good news for the coming winter but it's not such good news for hungry bat bellies.

Although there is a magnificent array of native flowering occurring, rain washes the nectar and pollen out of the blossom and flying foxes are forced to seek sustenance elsewhere.

Flying foxes turn to fruit trees in backyards and orchards, which unfortunately are sometimes covered in netting to protect the goods from hungry animals. Denise Wade, a bat conservationist, tells Gardening Australia that the most commonly available fruit netting carries holes that aren’t wildlife-friendly—they are big enough that flying foxes can get wings, legs and heads stuck. Small mesh with a rigid weave is much safer for them. 

"They're Australia's most important native animal and all four species are in rapid decline," Wade says. "They're in big trouble, so we need to look after them. We always like to say, 'No bats, no trees; no trees, no koalas', so if we want our lovely biodiversity and our wonderful forests and our hardwood forests and our world heritage areas then we need our bats."

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