When you think of the Seychelles you would probably conjure up images of golden beaches, leaning palm trees and azure waters.
Whilst we did enjoy our fair share of these particular tropical island delights, we also decided to venture beyond the stereotypical image that you see in the holiday brochures. There is so much more to these islands than just the beach.
Our base for the week was on Cote d’Or on the north coast of Praslin. The first morning we were there we took a stroll down the road and found the Praslin Museum. Apart from not remembering all the names of the endemic plant species that were growing there, many of which are used in herbal medicines, we also saw an enclosure of bats.
In the Seychelles there is an abundance of Fruit Bats, Pteropus seychellensis, which are commonly seen flying in the early evening – thankfully way up high in the sky. Now I am not a big fan of bats, but I went inside their enclosure for a closer look, nevertheless.
In South Africa, they are known as Vler Muis (Flying Mouse) in Afrikaans, but these bats are somewhat larger than I would expect a mouse to be. However, I can see how that would relate to the smaller insectivorous bats, which are more common in SA.
[Side Note: Adele ain't got nuffink on you, girl...]
Later in the week, we collected a brochure at Vallee de Mai – in German (it was either that or Italian as all the French and English brochures were out of print). We were amused to see that the name for a bat in German is Flughund – Flying Dog. Now that makes more sense and shows these bats off in a whole new light I might even consider them to be cute!
Whether in the Seychelles, South Africa or anywhere else in the world, bats are vital for agriculture. Despite always getting a bad rap – they are actually far more beneficial than they are a nuisance. Two articles on the subject can be found on the Science in Africa and KZN Wildlife websites.
Fruit bats only eat ripe fruit, so do a great job of cleaning up after the fruit-pickers have despatched their crops to the market – before those pesky fruit flies move in. Similarly, insectivorous bats scoff up all those unwanted flying pests, like mosquitoes. How could that possibly be a bad thing!?
I do believe that after seeing these bats as cute, flying woofies and reading up about them, I have a new found appreciation for these much maligned creatures of the night.