Monday, January 24, 2011

"Quick, Robin! To the Bat Mobile"

We have seen many interesting sites here in Liberia, but one of the creepiest things we have seen is the "Bat Tree."

This is a tree in downtown Monrovia that is home to thousands of bats. These are not cute little bats that are the models for cuddly stuffed animals, but the big nasty vampire ones that look like they could suck a person dry in a few minutes (OK, maybe that came from too many late night thriller movies, but these guys are creepy!)
Our first experience with the Bat Tree was a trip to Waterside Market. Julie and I were walking down the sidewalk, and we looked up to watch a large flock of crows swarming overhead. Only they were not crows! Yikes! Hundreds of huge bats flying through the air. Something had apparently spooked them, and they left the tree to fly around downtown Monrovia in the middle of the day and scare innocent, unsuspecting white women out fabric shopping!
A gentleman pointed out the Bat Tree to us, and sure enough, the large dead tree was covered with what looked like large dead leaves...except that these "leaves" would spread their big ugly wings every now and then and fly away. They would soar around the tree and land in a new spot, and return to hanging upside down. I wondered why the bats just leave and fly a little bit and then return to hang out. I wondered if it was kind of like us walking around on an airplane trip, to prevent embolisms and leg swelling. Just a random thought!
We finally got some interesting pictures of the Bat Tree (via son-in-law Robert's very nice camera!) and thought you all might like to see what bats do for fun here (besides scaring white women). The pictures also make a good case for dead tree removal!
Have a good day!