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.
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 . . .