This weekend was fantastic – I spent most of it dressed as a bat and walking around the Natural History Museum
I volunteer in their Wildlife Garden and it was their annual bat festival. A weekend devoted to all things batty. There was an amazing lady called Jenny there from the Sussex Bat Group who had brought several of their permanent patients from the bat hospital for people to see – ones who hadn’t passed their flying exams so couldn’t be released back into the wild. They were tiny, the body of the largest one covers 4 fingers and no more. Such cute faces too! They have their chatting voice and their secret voice. The one we can here is them talking to each other, the secret voice is their echolocation – she described it like the bats shining a torch over the landscape and receiving back all the information and building a map of their location.
There were plenty of fun activities, looking down a microscope to see the insects bats eat, making a flapping bat, bat boxes, homes for insects and bat masks as well as a bat trail learning things about bats.
My job was to wander around the museum drawing attention to the festival. Myself and another bat go to get a behind the scenes lift to the top floor of Central Hall (where Dippy lives) and appear to surprise the visitors. We got to swoop through the galleries and down the staircases and chat to the visitors arriving and in the queue.
Amazing day and such great fun meeting and talking to so many different people, they’re now thinking of other occasions where they can have costumes – I have put myself top of the list for any such occasion!
The big bat costume was made for David Bellamy to wear (and he did a few years ago – I was most excited to learn this, but also disappointed that so many people don’t know who he is…)
http://www.bats.org.uk/events.php/496/bat_fest_2013 – bat conserviation trust
http://www.sussexbatgroup.org.uk/ – where the bats came from