Blind as a Bat

A few years ago we bought a bat house to put up. My hubby has a thing about mosquitos and bats supposedly eat 1000 mosquitos per hour. I have since learned this is a myth. They eat insects (among other things) but not to this extent. The bat house is still sitting in my shed. There are too many inappropriate spots on our property to house the fascinating creatures of the night. So the idea of a mosquito-free summer evening got abandoned. However, the last week in October is #batweek, so let’s muse a little on their behalf, shall we?

Ontario Parks recommends bat houses.

There are 17-18 species of bat in Canada (depending on what site you visit). The “little brown bat” is the most common… and likely the one to roust in your attic. Who decided on such a name? Not only do you have to be the most common, did you have to be named as such? Anyway. Bats are weird-looking little things. Big ears, big noses, flappy leathery skinned armed wings, and belly buttons. The only flying mammal. Apparently, they don’t have too many predators either. The odd hawk or eagle will pick off some smaller bats but disease is one of their biggest dangers. Rabies is common, but a fungal infection is their most significant threat. Fungi love close quarters in damp dark areas… and so do bats… so you can see how quickly such threats spread among a population.

Let’s look at the whole “blind as a bat” thing. Bats, in fact, have excellent eyesight. They just happen to hunt at night, so they rely on echolocation in order to enhance their ability to catch prey in the dark.  A study carried out on bat behaviour said that “bat brains have to constantly integrate two streams of data, obtained with two different senses, to construct a single image of the world”. They typically use their eyes to find food during the daytime when it’s light and rely on their hearing and echolocation in the dark. Originally, their erratic flying patterns gave the impression that they didn’t see where they were going. We’ve now learned that the dips and dives are a result of bouncing sound waves here and there in order to navigate their environments. It’s a fun trick we used to play … jingle your car keys around a bat and see their reaction. Apparently, it sounds like bugs to them. Some species actually have advanced vision and can see Ultra Violet. Often, a bat’s vision is even greater than that of its human counterparts. Truly a unique presentation of God’s handiwork!

Mexican Freetail Bats. Flying off into the sunset. 2001-08

Aristotle once said, “For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all.” (BlindasaBat). Which got me a-thinkin’… What can we learn from these little creatures? We recently had a few big events occur in our neighbourhood. One celebratory and one tragic. Both were far removed from God’s plan for our world. As a Jesus-follower raising a family in a pagan world, I am reminded how easily I become blinded to the darkness around me. I dip and dive around issues appearing to aimlessly snatch out tidbits of “good”. How quickly the fungus of “dark” finds its way in when we stay too hunkered down in our caves.

I need to learn to sharpen all my senses and use discernment whenever I can. Like a bat brain, I need to constantly integrate all the information that I filter through each day and be “in the world but not of it”. It’s hard. It’s tough to present only “One Way” in a politically correct world of constant clicks and echoes. Surround yourselves with others who are like-minded. Bats nest by the thousands! I’ll pray for us both that our vision is clear. Be blessed my little batty beloveds!