National Bat Appreciation Day

National Bat Appreciation Day - Doodlewash and watercolor painting of flying fox bat

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

Profile photo of 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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
45 Comments
  1. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    He is too cute to be harmful so glad to read they aren’t. I have a good appreciation for bats so pleased they have a day all their own. Charlie this guys wings are particularly well done. 🙂

  2. Plover Lock 1 year ago

    Hahaha! You learn something new everyday! Lovely looking bat you painted. It’s unbelievable how big they are.

    • Author

      I know!! It’s crazy something that big can fly so far! Glad ya liked the doodlewash😃…and the Uhmm…education! Lol 😊

  3. Jodi 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Jodi!! 😃💕 I actually did paint him as shown, but when I was walking across the room I look back and he was cheering at me. Like he just need little pom poms! Lol 😊

  4. artandmoondreams 1 year ago

    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.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Haunani! 💕😃 I hadn’t really know much about this kind of bat. I was just trying to find some references that were cute and not terrifying. Lol Glad you liked this!!

  5. Catherine Johnson 1 year ago

    Oh how funny! I love your description. What interesting creatures.

  6. Jacob 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      Definitely on the large side! 😉Lol Thanks Jacob. Yeah…I was determined to find a cute bat and this kind seemed to fit the bill. I have to admit upon discovering cheerleader bat I almost wanted to post it upside down! Hehe

  7. OMG! That would be scary to see a five inch bat flying at dusk. I am not a bat fan due to their unusual appearance but they do clean the air of nasty bugs….so good for bats

    • Author

      They are definitely a wonderful benefit to the planet, but I agree…a giant one would freak me out a bit flying toward me. Hehe

  8. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    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.

    • Author

      Oh my!! You saw everything?! 😊 lol That’s awesome…I think I’ve seen these guys once in a zoo, but they were sort of hiding so not too spectacular. Hehe Thanks, Sharon! 💕😃

  9. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    Opps I forgot to add “Zoo” after San Diego. 😄

  10. debiriley 1 year ago

    beautifully illustrated Charlie!!! this was a really gorgeous painting with color and tones and shadows melding……. in perfection! great info on the bat, and thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks so much Debi!! 💕😃 I had a tiny bit of extra time to actually let some layers dry today. 😊 hehe… normally I have to cheat that bit. Glad you liked it!!

      • debiriley 1 year ago

        yes! definitely really noticed how much this just came to life with magic and sparkle. beautiful.

  11. YesterdayAfter 1 year ago

    This is the cutest bat I have seen! I love the colors and the eyes! Very well done! 😉

    • Author

      Aww thanks Carolina!! 😃💕 appreciate it! With bats, there’s a fine line between cute and creepy so I’m glad you think he’s on the cute side of the spectrum! Hehe

      • YesterdayAfter 1 year ago

        Ahah you right borderline cute or creepy yours for sure is on the cute side! You did an awesome job with him! 😉

  12. Carmel Campbell 1 year ago

    I am not sure where you find all this information but I see a book of beautiful illustrations!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Carmel! 💕😃 I just google and speed read a bunch of posts. 😊 Not sure I’d qualify as a qualified researcher! I just pluck out the fun bits that interest me.

  13. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    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. 😀

    • Author

      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

      • Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

        Got as far as putting my hands in the air at the same time as my feet on the ground. Beyond that, nothing moved.

      • Author

        Haha!! Well that’s awesome you tried then! 😉💕

  14. memadtwo 1 year ago

    Your bat is much cuter than mine! And thanks for all the information. (K)

  15. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    He does look like he’s smiling! 😜 And thanks for the laugh! 😄💕 I really like how you paint eyes, Charlie! Such depth! Awesome doodlewash!! 👌🎨🌟

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jill! 😃💕 hehe… Glad I could make you giggle. And thanks so much on the eyes. I spend a little extra time on those. I always figure if I get those right people will ignore all the other things I messed up. 😊lol

  16. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    What a cutie pie! I love all bats (well, maybe the ones that drink goat blood might be a bit freaky) and we’re always overjoyed when we see them swooping over us at dusk. <3

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa! 😃💕 I think bats are cool too! We get smaller ones here, and it’s fun to watch them. They fly sort of erratic, like a group of birds who’ve been flying into closed windows too much…hehe.

  17. Kari 1 year ago

    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.. ❤️

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! 😃💕Most bats are safe, fortunately! But…the sheer size of this one would freak me out in the wild. Hehe… And you’re welcome for the facts you thought you’d never learn! Lol 😉

  18. This has to be the cutest bat ever. I must admit I did not know how large the largest could be.

  19. Rebecca 1 year ago

    You know Charlie, you’ve done a spectacular job of capturing the leatheriness and suppleness of the wings! I like bats, and I love this picture. 🙂

    • Author

      Awww thanks Rebecca!! 😃💕Thrilled you liked this one. Those wings kind of intimidated me at first so I’m happy you like the outcome! Yay!

  20. Birgit Winter 1 year ago

    Once more a stunning picture… the wings, the face, the whole cute thing. I love it!

  21. jmnowak 1 year ago

    Aww, sweetie, Charlie…occasionally they fly around here…

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