Regarding Pteropus

Pteropus, also known as the flying fox, is one of my favorite inhabitants of Sydney. The “foxes” are really fruit bats, with meter-wide wingspans and a taste for figs and mosquitos. They don’t echo-locate like smaller bats, but they do have a distinctive chirp, like a tongue click in some alien language. Pteropus also has a pleasant musky smell, like a faraway skunk in those moments before you realize what you’re smelling.

For the next couple of weeks, we’re staying within view of the Royal Botanical Gardens, which swarms every evening with foxes heading out to the suburbs. Dusk is prime mosquito hunting time, of course.

Here’s the view from our balcony, with the Opera House peeking out from the trees. In the top right, the first bat of the evening has just taken wing.

After many tries, I managed to catch one whizzing just overhead . . .

In close-up, you can see the mammalian skeletal structure—the tiny feet and the vestigial fingers sticking out from the wings.

And remember, this thing’s big. Three feet across! Walking at night, we occasionally startle one out of a low tree, and it’s like a leather kite coming to life just over your head.

Anyway, that’s what I’m staring out at these days. Book 1 of Leviathan is in copy-editing, and the research for Book 2 is in full swing . . .

98 thoughts on “Regarding Pteropus

  1. oh my gosh, i haven’t comented here for forever and a day…trust me, i’ve been lost in the waves of thought and the forest of choices….whatever, okay, gotta go make pizza.

  2. Hehe, my brother in law is deathly afraid of bats. He wouldn’t even go and look at them at the zoo. And those were pansy American bats. Rofl.

  3. Watch out, those pansy American bats will gum you to death!! (as in they’re trying to bit you, but it tickles, and feels like they’re gnawing on you with their little bat gums) !!!

  4. My mom just got me Magic or Madness today (as a present for Hannukah) and I checked your blog and, lo and behold, flying foxes (from MoM…wait…? MOM? *eyetwitch*).

    *goes chibi-pompoms on you* LEVIATHAN! LE-VI-A-TH-ANNNN!

  5. BTW. Moving to Sydney with ya Scott. Closer to Japan than smelly poxy recession-y US. And it’s summer-r-r-r! It’s so cold her, but it’s the East Coast so it never-rarely snows. D=

    And last year when it did, it started raining and became slush. Okay, I officially hate this city. And this state.

  6. Ping-la: Hannukah sounds awesome!! Or jewish people do. Everyone blames them for everything, like gremlins or Special Circumstances, But they’re totally cool. Happy Hannukah!! And woo! Magic or Madness!!

  7. I’m googleing (googling?) the names of the mansions in Pretties, assuming they’re all named after ‘classic-pretties’. Pretty insane.

  8. Jay-wa: how do u know what it feels like when an american bat tries 2 bite u?? i haven’t been on since yeaterdey@ 4:00pm!! seperation problems were starting!!!!=D

  9. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT A SLITHER IS?!?!?!?! (I have no idea what it feels like to b e bitten by a bat. I was just guessing…yeah…:wink:) A slither is a creature in the Blue Time. (Midnighters Series.)

  10. yeah, i haven’t read it or seen it @ any book store i go2!!! they have it @ this 1 library, so maybe i’ll read it!! i don’t think american bats have teeth, so gums would b a pretty good guess!!;D yesterday i saw Twilight(again), but this time it was a total SNOOZE FEST!!!! i almost fell asleep, but i knew if i did my Twilight obcessed friend would hit me w/ her purse……so i thought it would b better 2 daydream!!! i was completely zoned out the whole time except in the beginning when i was trying 2 pick up Robert Pattinson’s brittish accent(he’s really good@ hiding it) but that got boring after a while…….i completely felt those 2 hours of my life being wasted on boredom(i would much rather have been reading) okay, i won’t bore u w/ the rest of the story!!!=D

  11. I thought Twilight the first time was wayy better than the second time. (Even though the first time I was staring at Robert Pattinson…)

    Midnighters is utterly amazing.

  12. did u pick up his accent, cause after the 1st time i saw it i watched this interview & he had a brittish accent!!! i was like OMG i didn’t know he had an accent!! =D

  13. Yeah, it’s the same thing if you’ve ever seen the tv show House. Hugh Laurie, who plays Dr. House has a major Brit accent, but during the show you can’t tell AT ALL. Am I the only one that totally couldn’t tell he was sparkling in the sun at all the first time? Cuz I could see it the second time he did in the movie. I was like, AND STEPHENIE MY SAID LET THERE BE LIGHT AND THERE WAS EDWARD!

  14. The only British Edward I care about is Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl. He hides his accent during the TV show, but it just makes his voice ten zillion times sexier.

    An extra for now. 😉

  15. OMG!!! I like can’t wait till Christmas! The tree is sooo full of presents right now and I am sooooo excited to dig in on christmas morning!!! Oh, I hope I hot an i-pod nano…..

  16. Oh, I know right? I was kind of excited for presents until I actually scouted out the tree and found lots for me. This one from my grandma has the weirdest shape, and now I really want to know what it is!

    An extra for now. 😉

  17. Audrey-sensi: is Ed Westwick the guy who plays Chuck or Nate? i think its Chuck cause i have heard his accent & i was like wow, i had no idea he had an accent(he2 is good@ hiding it)=D

  18. HaHaHa, I tried to watch Gossip Girl a while back but I had to shut it off cuz I felt my brain starting to melt…lol. But I have to admit, he is hot.

  19. Tally&Zane: I totally agree with you about Gossip Girl. My sisters watch it and it is SO LAME!!!

    (I don’t know if I should keep the ‘wa’ in my name on this blog or not.)

    Click my name. I just added some new stuff to my blog. Leave a comment and tell me what you think of the picture behind the blog title at the top. 😀

  20. It wouldn’t let me post a comment, but that santa thing’s hilarious and I like the pic. It’s cool.

  21. Whenever my sisters watch Gossip Girl I end up feeling brain-missing and I hate feeling like that.

    Click my name. 🙂
    Can someone tell me if the video on my blog is too much? That would be really nice. 😀

  22. wow those things are hudge
    Im use to seeing the tiny ones
    in the okanogan(which I think are incredibly cute)
    and I can’t wait for Leviathan, I NEED smoething to read.
    and it seems good from the parts I read in Bogus to bubbly

  23. i can’t wait for Leviathan! i read the first two chapters in Bogus to Bubbly and is seams really good so far. when does it come out exactly?

  24. i have a q about the uglies series do you think you could make them into a movie ??

    me and my friends were talking about how cool it would be !!

    write back and tell me


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