Today is National Bat Appreciation Day, and so I’m celebrating with this doodlewash of a bat known as a Flying Fox.  I thought it looked rather cute for a bat, but then realized this is the largest bat species and some have been found with a wingspan of up to 5.25 feet (1.6 m) and it sort of freaked me out. But then I was pleasantly reminded that flying foxes only feed on nectar, blossoms, pollen, and fruit, so they went back to seeming harmless enough. Unlike some other bats, they do not use echolocation to find food, but instead have a highly developed eyesight and sense of smell. I also discovered that if you turn this doodlewash upside down, he looks like he’s smiling and cheering for his special day!

Flying foxes travel from camp to camp in search of food and therefore don’t build any permanent nests. Since newborns can’t fly on their own for a few months, flying fox mommies will spend weeks flying around with a little baby clinging for dear life to their bellies. Eventually, the little ones are more self-sufficient and she’ll leave them while she hunts for food. In about six months, they’re ready to leave home for good, so in the end, they’re pretty low maintenance as children go.

When it’s hot, they’ll try to cool themselves by using their wings as a fan. If that fails to cool them down, they will start licking themselves all over their bodies as a Plan B. And they love hanging upside down. So much so, it’s also their preferred mating position. When they’re ready for a little love, the female will hold onto the males ankles to avoid falling. Nature graced the male with a personal appendage that’s a quarter of his total body length to ensure nothing can well… fall out during love making. File this under too much information, but that’s apparently how flying foxes are made.

Join me any and all days you like during April by celebrating a National or International Day with a doodlewash! Tag your image #doodlewashaday and I’ll feature everyone who played along on at the end of the month! 

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Gold. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

45 replies on “National Bat Appreciation Day

  1. LOL! A quarter of his size!! Yowza!
    Your Flying fox is just as charming as you!
    I must ask, did you paint him upside down or right side up? What a challenge it seems🙂 I flipped my screen several times LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Was hoping you would paint a Flying Fox…superbly done! I can see the bit of golden fur, like a fuzzy halo just behind the ears, and the leathery wings are wonderful, can easily imagine them moving. And as always, you spin a great tale of information and entertainment. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha ha – he looks charming enough upside down, but the upside down upside down cheerleader bat is just too adorable! Wonderful doodlewash – those eyes, wow! Fun facts too – I’m loving the idea of one fanning itself. I do like bats and always look out for them when wandering in the darkness, but, cheerleader or not, I’m not sure how I’d fare if one of these guys made an unannounced appearance… a bit on the large side!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlie, your bat is wonderful. When I lived in San Diego, I visited the San Diego often and there was a Flying Fox exhibit. They are beautiful animals and of course, at the zoo, visitors get to see everything ( all appendages), haha! Thanks for the bat info, very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very well painted, Charlie, and thanks for the info. Bats in general have gotten a bad reputation but are great for the environment. They eat fruit and flowers or they eat insects and keep the annoying pest population down. Still, when one gets caught in a room and it’s a room where you happen to be, it’s a bit freaky. They want to get out and you, the other inhabitant, want them to get out as well!
    Anyway, this guy is very handsome and looks foxy to boot. I tried turning my desk top computer upside down but the thing is big and bulky so no can do. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharon! 💕😃 glad you like him!! Yeah bats are wonderful creatures!! I really love seeing pics and watching them in flight, but if one gets close it does freak me out. Actually having a bird flying around inside a house freaks me out as well, so it’s nothing against the bat really. And what?! You didn’t try standing on your head to see cheerleader bat? I’m so disappointed!! 😉lol


  6. It is adorable! I’m afraid as cute as they are, I’m not going to be able to tell which ones are fruit-loving ones and those that want to bite you.. Lol, so I’ll just have to stay away.. Interesting mating info, Charlie.., hehe.. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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