It was on the morning we were to be sailing into Cartagena, Colombia. I had awakened very early – about 4 am – and I decided to step out onto the lanai of our stateroom to see if I could see any lights in the distance.
I opened the door and immediately realized the immediate space next to the ship was being swarmed by flying things. Too early for birds. Being a quick learn about such things I immediately realized they were bats. Hundreds and hundreds of bats attracted by the ship’s lights and the insects that were hovering around said lights.
I am here to tell you folks that the scene out there was creepily fascinating. I mean, I have seen bats before; lots of them. But I had never seen them en masse. It was only later I was to learn that Colombia is not only home to more species of bats than any other country on earth, it also boasts (?) four species of vampire bats.
“I vant to suck your bloooooooood!”
Evidently they mainly suck livestock’s blood, but they still tend to evoke a chill in one.
I can see how bats got to be associated with the nether world and certainly Halloween – this, by the way, is my Halloween entry if you hadn’t deduced that – because they defy a certain zoological logic which deems that birdies fly, but mammals don’t. Even flying squirrels don’t really fly; they merely glide.
But, bats fly. They fly real good and they are not loath to come quite close to a body. I found that out when I braved sitting on the balcony for a while.
And I, who am creeped out by very few creatures on the planet, must confess that I do find bats creepy. They have faces that seem to epitomize evil – except for flying foxes, they’re kinda cute – and it’s small wonder they are often seen as demonic. They resemble nether world incarnations.
The creepiest bat story I’ve ever heard took place right here in this community a few years ago. A little girl had gone to bed for the evening and she’d only been there a few minutes when her mother heard screeches of terror emanating from her room. She ran to see what was amiss. When she got there she was thunderstruck. A bat had flown in the bedroom window and right into the little girl’s face and when mom arrived the creature was still there. She got if off and somehow managed to kill it – don’t recall how.
Then, she wisely (since bats are notorious carriers of rabies) took it out to the hospital and it was indeed rabid. Which meant the girl, after the horrors of the evening, had to undergo the unpleasant therapy for rabies.
I don’t know how she is doing this many years after the fact but if it had been me, I think I’d still be suffering nightmares.