An Olympic finale

Baturday News is a weekly blog written by Rachael, a soon-to-be high school student and Save Lucy volunteer. Rachael’s interest in bats was sparked by the big brown bats that used the outside of her former home for a winter roost. Rachael has been writing the Baturday News for three years.

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. Since this was the last week of the Olympics, I thought it would be nice to do another Olympic bat post. These Olympic Games were special because we had a team made up of refugee athletes. These athletes come from countries where it is no longer safe for them to live because of wars. Today, we are going to learn about bats from their homelands.

A phtograph of a Hemprich
A Syrian bat, Hemprich's long-eared bat. Photo by the ever amazing Brock Fenton. Courtesy ARKIVE.

Two of the athletes are from Syria. One of the bats of Syria is the Hemprich’s long-eared bat. I think this bat’s long ears are especially cute. The bat has thick, soft fur that is sandy-yellow to dark brown with a white belly. Its nostrils are crescent shaped. This handsome little bat is carnivorous and likes to eat beetles, termites, cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets and locusts. If you would like to learn more about the Hemprich’s long-eared bat, you can read about it here.

Five of the athletes are from the country of South Sudan. This is the youngest country in the world and I think it’s really sad that it’s already having a civil war. When the country was only 2 months old, I met a few people from South Sudan. They were a delegation that came to see our Special Olympics and it was a lot of fun to talk with them about their new country. Now I wonder how they are doing. Not only is South Sudan the world’s youngest country, it is also where a newly discovered bat lives. This beautiful bat is called Niumbaha superba. It is also nicknamed the “panda bat” or “badger bat” because of its markings. You can read more about it here.

One of the athletes is from Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a lot of interesting bats. One of them is called the Natal long-fingered bat. This bat is usually dark brown on top and pale gray on the bottom. This bat’s most interesting feature is its long finger which gives it its name. This bat likes to roost in caves. You can read more about it here.

The remaining two athletes on the Olympic refugee team are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Gallagher’s Free-tailed bat is a critically endangered bat that lives in the DRC. This bat only lives in one small area which is threatened by logging. If you want to read more about this bat, you can find it here.  I also found this video of the world’s largest gathering of fruit bats. This is also in the DRC.

I hope everyone has enjoyed watching the Olympics and that you have enjoyed learning about our furry, batty friends. I also hope that you all enjoy these last few weeks of summer.

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