As many of you know Martin loves reptiles and insects but he also loves mammals and this extends to bats which are found in his collection of animal cabinet pulls.
For some reason I do not think of bats as mammals and see them as flying rodents and indeed if you look at many bats they do appear to be rats with leathery wings.
When Martin and I were in Belize several years ago we stayed at the luxurious Blancaneaux Lodge, a Coppola resort and took a guided excursion by canoe to Barton Creek Cave. The ancient Maya once used this cave as a burial site and the interior is filled with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and a thriving bat colony.The ceiling of the cave was fairly low so with our head held flash lights we could see the fine details of the bat faces and their fury bodies as they hung from the cave ceiling in clusters.
More recently, in Paso Robles, in the hot month of August with the doors open to cool the house a large bat with a 16" wing span flew into our bedroom. After much flapping the bat tired and so Martin was able to carefully hold the bat by its wings and emboldened by his action I stroked the incredible downy coat of its fur and touched the soft fine translucent leathery skin of its wings. Respecting the bats right to peace we turned all the house lights off and released him back to the night. For those bat lovers out there is a great YouTube page where you can see a bat rescue center in Australia with some adorable bat videos.