wings post

Rescue and Adoption

In the heart of the fairy mound, there were two identical cradles, each with an identical infant inside.

“One of these babies is the one you bore,” said a fairy. “The other is the changeling we left. You may leave our hall with whichever child you claim as your own. Choose wisely.”

“But they are both my children,” the human mother protested indignantly.

The fairies whispered amongst themselves in surprise and confusion. At last, one asked, “How do you mean?”

“I came to get back the child you stole from me, the one who is mine by blood. I never agreed to give my adopted child back to you.”

Perhaps her words touched the fairies’ hearts; or perhaps her stubbornness impressed them; or perhaps they simply found the argument amusing, novel enough to merit a reward.

She left the fairy mound, an infant in each arm, and brought them home.

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The Defenders + Text Posts

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KNOW YOUR BATS: Emballonuridae family

Emballonuridae is a family of bats commonly known as sheath-tailed or sac-winged bats. I’m surprised these bats aren’t better known, because they have very uniquely appealing little faces. I think it’s the perpetually upturned nose.

They also have a stunning variety of colors, from the pure-white northern ghost bat to the dark chocolate of the Hill’s sheath-tailed bat.

Among them are some excellent camoflaugers, such as the proboscis bat, which looks like a bit of lichen or damaged bark on a tree.

In fact, many species in Emballonuridae roost on the trunks and branches of trees, in broad daylight, depending on their camouflage to keep them safe. They like to do it in neat little lines.

Sometimes they also stack.

You may have noticed their short little tailed. They’re sometimes called sheath-tailed bats because these tails protrude out of the membrane between their back legs, which can be pulled up to “sheath” the tail. Here’s a video if you don’t quite understand what I mean.

As I mentioned earlier, they’re also called sac-winged bats. This is because they have special pouches near their wrists designed to release pheromones into the air when they flap their wings. Below is a close up of the pouch, closed and then opened.

For the most part these are very small bats, with weights as low as three to four grams- one of the smallest, the proboscis bat, can get caught in spiderwebs and eaten.

Aside from roosting in trees, these bats roost in caves, crevices, and occasionally, human-made structures like wells or stone tombs. Because of this, several species are known as tomb bats. They’re pretty adorable little harbingers of death if you ask me.

Photo credits:

Main set (species in photo caption): Bat Conservation Intl / Jasmine Vink / University of KwaZulu-Natal / Merlin Tuttle / Michael Penney

Emedded in text: Bateleur Nature Reserve / ARKive / Riley Pearce / PSUNHM / Christian Ziegler