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Monday, 04 January 2010
Bat and myth

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Bats are flying mammals in the order Chiroptera. The forelimbs of bats are webbed and developed as wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums and colugos, glide rather than fly, and only for short distances. Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, like birds, but instead flap their spread out digits, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium. Chiroptera comes from two Greek words, cheir (χειρ) “hand” and pteron (πτερον) “wing.”

From Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia article also recounts an interesting East Nigerian bat myth:

The bat developed its nocturnal habits after causing the death of his partner the bush-rat. The bat and the bush-rat would share activities such as rummaging through the grass and trees, hunting, talking and bonding during the day. When at night, the bat and the bush-rat would alternate in cooking duties cooking what was caught, and eat together. It appeared to a dedicated partnership, however the bat hated the bush-rat immensely. The bush rat always found the bat’s soup more appetising so when eating dinner one night asked the bat why the soup tasted better than his own and also asked how it was made. The bat agreed to show him how to make it the next day but instead was forming a malicious plan.

Next day as bat prepared his soup, the bush-rat came, greeting him and asked if he could be shown what was agreed yesterday. Earlier, the bat has found a pot looking exactly like the one he used usually, but it held warm water and so decided to use this instead. The bat explained to the bush-rat that to make his soup, he had to boil himself prior to serving the soup where sweetness and flavor of the soup came from the flesh. The bat jumped in the pot seemingly excited, with the bush-rat mesmerised. After a few minutes the bat climbed out and while the bush-rat was distracted, switched pots. The bat then served his soup out of the soup pot, both tasted it. Over anxious and eager, the bush-rat, jumped into the pot of warm water. He stayed much longer in the pot dying in the process.

When the bush-rat’s wife returned that night to find her husband dead, she wept and ran to the chief of the land’s house telling him about what happened and what she was sure what the bat had done. In hearing this, the chief became angry, ordering for the immediate arrest of the bat. It just so happened that the bat was flying over the house and overheard what was just said. He quickly went into hiding high up in a tree. When the chief’s men went looking for the bat, he could not be found. The search to arrest the bat carried on over several days, but still could not be found. The bat needed to eat, so flew out of hiding every night to hunt for food to escape of being arrested. This is why bats only fly at night.

Posted by bigblue on 04/01/2010 at 08:04 AM
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Sunday, 03 January 2010
Barn Owl

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The Owls are the order Strigiformes, comprising 200 extant birds of prey, species. Most are solitary, and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g. the Burrowing Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, though a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland, and some remote islands. Though owls are typically solitary, the literary collective noun for a group of owls is a parliament.

From Wikipedia.

The (stuffed) specimen above is of the family Tytonidae.

Posted by bigblue on 03/01/2010 at 07:56 AM
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Saturday, 02 January 2010
Barracuda

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This is the first photograph I took on arriving in Sicily in November. It was the first and last bicycle that I saw on the island.

Posted by bigblue on 02/01/2010 at 08:33 AM
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Friday, 01 January 2010
Muscovite

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Not knowing this mineral I only associated this word with a native of Moscow. I was interested to see that the specimen came from Switzerland - perhaps (given the name of the variety) it was from the Austrian border?

Posted by bigblue on 01/01/2010 at 08:14 PM
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