Sunday, June 22, 2008

Grounded for life

Every morning when we walked out of our room at Margo Utomo, we were greeted by the sight of a large fruit bat.

The bat is a permanent resident of the plantation. He (as you can see for yourself, he is clearly a he) spends most of his day in a bamboo cage, but in the morning his caretaker feeds him at this tree.

On our first morning we spent a long time admiring the bat. He entertained us by eating chunks of papaya and pineapple, walking hand-over-hand along the branch, and unfurling his beautiful leathery wings.

Eventually the caretaker offered to let us hold him. Chad was the only one bold enough to accept.

The bat has a sad story. He was taken from his mother as an infant, so he never learned to fly. He has probably never know the society of other bats. He's dependent on his keeper for even the small luxury of enjoying a tree branch.

On the other hand, he's well-fed and well-kept and, unlike some of his fellow bats, he has not wound up on anyone's dinner plate. Fruit bats are eaten in some parts of Indonesia, most famously in Manado. I suppose luck, good or bad, is always a relative thing.


michele said...

very cool. his face looks like a very small dog's - or maybe a brown bear.

kopisusu2 said...

Yes, he was very cute. He reminded me a little of a cat and a little of a dog in his mannerisms and features. He really took a shine to Chad's shirt sleeve and chewed on it till it was soaking wet, for reasons that were unclear to everybody. He definitely had personality. I could see why you'd keep a bat like him as a pet, although I'd never want to kidnap one at infancy like that.

Anonymous said...

There's another thing Chad can check off the bucket list.