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 doodlewash.com 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
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