Apparently each year conservationist in Frankfurt, Germany get together to count the bats in the basement vaults of an old brewery. They started in 1987 when they found 150 bats. This year there were 1,800. I’m going to offer up today this excellent photograph by Patrick Pleul/dpa/Zuma Press showing conservationist holding a greater mouse-eared bat from the count on January 17.
One is tempted to count this the antithesis of cute and cuddly. But I don’t know. I used to look at the bats hibernating in the expansion cracks of the physics building at Cornell. They looked pretty cute and cuddly, and they are glorious to watch flying at night. Indeed, how would you like to make your living catching flying insects in the dark.
Two things come to mind. First, a numebr of years ago Harold Edgerton visited my laboratory at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology. He showed some pretty spectacular of bats captured in the act of catching meal worms sling shot into the air. There was a man who knew how to enjoy science. And second, of course, is the thought of Count von Count joing the Frankfurt bat counting team:
Eine Fledermaus, zwei Fledermäuse, drei Fledermäuse…”