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A blizzard of bats!

A blizzard of bats!

Each year during November and December an incredible wildlife spectacle takes place in Kasanka national park in Zambia’s central province. Eight million (!) straw coloured fruit bats (apparently the greatest concentration of mammalian biomass ever recorded) converge on the national park.

Straw coloured fruit bats coming in to roost.

The bats roost in an area of evergreen swamp forest only about a hectare in size. Their bodies are packed tightly together as they jostle for the limited space among branches which often break off due to the sheer weight of the bats!

Roosting fruit bats.

As dusk descends they take off from the sagging branches and within minutes the sky is filled with millions of bats flying in all directions, fanning out into the forest to feed on the wild fruit that is so abundant at this time of year.

Fruit bats leaving their roosts at dusk

Fruit bats taking off at sunset.

Fruit bats fill the sky at sunset.

Content Copyright Patrick Bentley Photography

2 Comments

  1. Surely there is a deeper more significant reason for this than just eating fruit. They must fly in from as far away as DRC and other neighboring countries? How long do they stay in the area?

  2. Hi Ken! There are a number of theories but nobody really knows why they come to this specific spot of bush each year. Take a look at this article for more info:

    http://www.batcon.org/index.php/media-and-info/bats-archives.html?task=viewArticle&magArticleID=17

    It really is a jaw dropping sight though – eight million is a lot of bats!!