Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We Can't Stop Here...

...this is BAT COUNTRY!

American Samoa is a batty place. Bats are everywhere. One of my favorite ways to relax at the end of the day is to sit out on my balcony at dusk and watch the bats, or flying foxes, glide overhead by the dozens. It's a pretty cool thing to see. I'm not sure when it happened, but I got used to them a while ago and can even handle domesticated ones just fine. I think this started about a year ago when my friend Pirate Chris took one to a party with it hanging on his back the entire time and let me hold it for a while.

This is how vampires are made.

But what I'm getting to is that lately I've been working on a super-mega-special project. It's a mini-documentary about...BATS! And I even uploaded it to YouTube to share with you!¹

It's pretty good, considering how quickly we rushed it out before Hideyo, the host, had to leave the island for an awesome work-related trip to Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, and several other places that I can't even remember. Lucky.

But here it is. You might have to double-click it and watch it in YouTube, unless you just don't care for the right half of videos:

I have a little confession to make: The bat in that video is not a real wild one, but a very docile pet bat owned by our friend Alden. He let us borrow her for the video. Her name is Luna, and she's too young to fly away on us.

Luna is about the cutest widdle Pteropus samoensis you've ever seen. She's like a puppy. A dark, winged, half-hairless puppy that would make a lot of people scream. But I'm pretty used to her, so I can see her more like a sweet little animal. She also likes to nibble on fingers like a puppy.

Here's some stills from clips I didn't use:

Luna hangs with Hideyo during a break in filming.

She was hanging off the back of the driver's headrest during all the driving bits. Sometimes she wanted to sit up front, though.

Luna hangs on my stomach and gives it a quick lick during my turn to hold her. She was really into licking the salty sweat off of our hands.

Luna takes interest in the video camera. She's actually hanging off of the lens hood in this one. 'Sokay, it's not my camera.

Hideyo shows off Luna's wingspan a bit. Fruit bats grow to be the largest bats in the world, up to a meter in length.

¹Well, it's technically a compressed version of the video. Uploading the full-sized video file at my connection speed would have taken 11 hours. Which I tried to do anyway, but it got an error somewhere around the 8th hour. Really.
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