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. Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na


    Oh, whoops, it’s just another Australian slither. Silly me.

    Thanks for the shots, Scott! Can’t wait to read Leviathan. 😀

  2. Neato bat pics. It reminds me of this huge eagle looking bird I saw today. I saw it while I was in the car, it was kind of shocking. I always look out the car window but I never see anything interesting.

    What is Leviathan about? Have you posted the synopsis?

    Read my blog. I just put up some funny pics of action figures from Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer. 😀
    Once again, read my blog. Leave a comment, blog lurkers aren’t as much fun.

  3. Wow, that’s a beautiful creature! (And for once I’m in top 10!!)

    And yay! Leviathan! Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  4. Hey Scott,

    Have you walked under the trees where they roost in the Botanical Gardens? You might not find the musky smell quite so pleasant there! But I agree–they are cool little dudes. I remember the first time an Irish friend saw them (at Featherdale Wildlife Park where I took her for a one-stop shop of Aussie fauna), she couldn’t believe her eyes–bats, in Ireland, being mouse-sized. I always half expect them to turn up in one of her books. (She’s an author/illustrator and took a stack of photos.)

  5. those bats sound really big!!! i actually got 2 c a big bat in Disney World!! it probably wasn’t 3 ft., but it was big& a fruit eater…….it was kinda scary!!!=D

  6. my nana(scottish grandma) has a friend who lives in Sydney(idk if my spelling is right), last year she went 2 visit her!! she said it was beautiful!!! nana says that grandma is 4 old people, thats why we call her nana!!=D

  7. wow that bat sounds big. if i saw a bat that large flying in my neighborhood, i’d probably be freaked out.
    oh and yay leviathan!


  8. That’s pretty sweet. Your description reminds me of those little mynok things in Star Wars.


    I don’t like bats. Haven’t since we had to evict them from our attic.

  9. A view of the Opera house, Flying Foxes, and no sub-zero temperatures. Maybe it’s time I start thinking about moving to Sydney…

  10. That’s fawesome, I don’t really see bats where I live. Lots of birds and squirrels and deer but, alas, no bats.

    I can’t wait for Leviathan to come out! I know it’s great, coming from you, (no pressure), lol just kidding.

    I like bats, especially huge one, too bad I don’t have them here in VA.

  11. Ha, it was pretty amazing seeing those bats when we went in Australia! We saw them most in the North though. Anyway, I think we ran into one with the car. :S It was really dark and on a really adventurous outback-ish road and there was a huge *bang* and we all screamed like maniacs! Anyway. I kind of liked them. 🙂

    Oh, and also, I read the chapter from Leviathan in Bogus to Bubbly, and I can’t tell you how much I look forward to it. I have a strange obsession with WWI and II fiction, and this adds the genius of science fiction!

  12. Yeah, actually Leviathan didn’t sound that appealing to me, until I read that darn excerpt in Bogus to Bubbly. You authors and your sneaky ways! Now I really can’t wait for it to come out. 😉

  13. there r lots of fruit bats in Michigan in the summer!! they eat the mosquitos!! some poeple i know actually have a bat box on a tree in their backyard.=D
    Happy Monday!!!!(i only say that cause there is no school on this monday, which makes it happy) i actually have a life 2day 2! i m going 2 a christmas party(we r not going 2 the dance thankfully) there r only like 5 of us, so we r going 2 the mall or the movies!!=D

  14. Gabrielle: how could u hit 1 w/ your car!!(even though if i ever went there the same thing would probably happen 2 me)=D

  15. Wow, that’s insane! I would be so scared one was going to attack me!

    Hoba-wa: I was thinking the same thing…SLITHERS!!!!

    I’m so excited for Leviathan!! It’s almost unbearable!

    Australia sounds so cool. Even with scary three-foot bats. (flying fox is the scary part)
    Kailyx, I agree with you, no cold would be nice! And pretty views!

    Ashley-wa: Happy Monday!! !! !!!!!!!!!!!!(!!)

  16. (read the last post’s comments)
    Ashley-wa: A heated jacket would be DA BOMB DIGGIDY!!! And awesome Team David shirt (traitor). I hope you enjoy Extras!

    Elmo is creeeepaaayyy.

    (back to this post)
    It would be kind of cool to see a bat..if there was a window and maybe some metal bars in between yourself and it…Sydney looks so cool. I’m sick of snow, it’s up to my knees!! (Take me with youuuu Scott-la!!!)

    Everyone have a nice day/evening!

  17. it’s a bat, a bat! hahah bats scare me….

    wow that looks cool where you are 🙂 and yay for porgress on Liviathan ( i think i spelled it wrong) i can’t wait to read it too bad it dosn’t come out for a long, long time 🙁

  18. Awesome new blog Kenzie-La!! I would have been hiding under something if bats were attacking my boat!

    Woo! I was building a snow fort! It’s coooold! Have a nice day, again!

  19. “Oh well thats all, Im gonna have a goldfish bloodbath(which is really just tomato soup and goldfish crackers but sounds cooler this way.)”

    I personally don’t like tomato soup, But Kenzie-La, You just made it cool. Lol! That’s totally insane. (goldfish blood-bath muahahahahhahahaha) evilll………..
    Went to checking it out..

    HI Ashley-wa!

  20. Jay-wa: HI! 2 u 2!!! that gold fish thing does sound pretty evil(ew blood) now i m never eating tomato soup(never had it never will) i was looking up cool sayings& found a bunch, but i can’t quite figure out how 2 get them from Word 2 any thing else!! soooo dizzy-making!!!=D how is everybody??

  21. du na na na na na na na na na na na na

    if im not mistaken, i think those were the bats in indiana jones and the temple of doom. (indy said they were vampire bats, but he said that because the scientific name for these bats is Pteropus vampyrus)

  22. who would wanna eat misquitoes?
    bats r cool
    i used to hate them because of a very scaring pic*shutters*
    but i think there cool now

  23. and look at those pretty clouds
    i just wanna
    -eat them
    -go to sleep on them
    -run thru them
    too bad all i can do is look at them=.[

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