Sunday, March 27, 2011

Costa Rica nightlife

Catching bats at night, originally uploaded by Vilseskogen.
One of the most amazing experiences in Costa Rica this year was when we got to catch bats in the early (but dark) evening using mist nets, the same kind of nets you use to catch birds. Usually the bats would 'see' (hear) the nets and avoid them, but we set up the nets near a water hole where they get some needed drinks before they go out hunting. During about 1.5 hours after darkness had fallen at 6 PM we caught 9 bats from 6 different species. Some larger, some really tiny. Our project leader was bat expert extraordinaire, Don Wilson from the Smithsonian. There are photos of several of the species we caught on my Flickr website. Some were male (easy to see!) and one female was pregnant.

Part of the experience was also to get chewed up and bitten by many many chiggers, tiny little mite-like creatures that suck blood and give you big itching welts for days after wards. They are so small they crawl through sock and pant-fabric, unfortunately. I probably had 100 bites, but most are healed by now. We have chiggers in our yard in New Jersey as well. Not much to do about them.

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