November 27, 2014

Bats squeak into Arenac libraries for summer program

Kevin Bunch
A Michigan big brown bat gets a closeup amid a group of kids.
Kevin Bunch
Organization for Bat Conservation presenter Christina Funk gets some help from Daisy Ferns, 10, of National City, and Seth Jones, 7, of Au Gres for a portion of her program about cave environments.
Kevin Bunch
Christina Funk calls on a child in the audience to try and identify the salamander in the photo she holds in her hand.
Kevin Bunch
Funk shows a short-tail fruit bat to some of the kids at the Omer Little Eagle’s Nest Library July 10.
Kevin Bunch
Christina Funk holds up an Egyptian fruit bat. True to its name, the African bat eats only fruits.
Kevin Bunch
The Egyptian fruit bat lets Christina Funk show off one of its wings. Funk pointed out how the bat’s fingers run through the wing and allow it to move through the air by flapping its “hands.”
Kevin Bunch
Christina Funk shows the audience how a bat detector works with a big brown bat. The device is able to register the ultrasonic noises bats use to help find their way around in the dark through a process called echolocation. It then turns them into clicking sounds in the human range of hearing.
Kevin Bunch
Kids at the Omer library meet a vampire bat, which feeds by biting an animal and licking up the blood.
Kevin Bunch
Christina Funk holds up a small vial of fake blood to signify the amount a vampire bat eats each day. She explained that vampire bats prefer to feed off farm animals, as human blood makes them sick, and added they are a very social species, helping each other out if needed.
Kevin Bunch
The vampire bat curls up in its cage as Funk explains that they tend to be shy and easily stressed.
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Audiences at libraries in Au Gres, Omer and Standish got to meet some bats from around the world July 10 and 11 when the Organization for Bat Conservation held its program, “Life Beneath the Surface.” Christina Funk, presenter from the OBC, or Bat Zone, brought along four different species of bats to the libraries, and spoke about their lifestyles and habitats. She also talked about the existential dangers some bat species face from the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, and the benefits and ecological importance of the oft-misunderstood creatures.

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