Friday, May 29, 2009

Ballari nala plays host to bat migrants


BELGAUM: As the sun sets, the Ballari nala on the outskirts of the city turns into a tourist spot as people rush to watch bats glide in by the thousands from the Western Ghats region. Trying to settle down for the night, the bats shift from branch to branch and the moonlight captures their swift movements. However, during the day, these very same bats look rather lifeless as they hang upside down in the trees.

These fruit bats, also called megabats, are mammals and look like rats when their wings are folded. Bats generally keep away from humans, thought people often do not extend them the same courtesy, shining torch beams or throwing stones at them. With the onset of the monsoon, these bats will migrate elsewhere in search of food. Most bats feed on insects and fruits and are generally harmless. However, they are carriers of rabies and in case of a bite, medical attention must be immediate. Speaking to TOI, Girish Hosur, deputy conservator of forest, Belgaum division said, "These bats are largely seen in the Western Ghats area of Khanapur region. Until now, we have not had a single case of bat bite and hopefully the bats will soon migrate once the rain starts."

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