10 Million Bats, and David Attenborough

The title really says it all. Follow this link to see a metric crap-ton of fruit bats (the largest such gathering in the world) converge on a remote swamp in Zambia--an area only about the size of two or three soccer fields.

To take the shots, BBC camera crew had to swoop in on a powered hot-air balloon. Because there were so many bats that a helicopter couldn't fly. Oh. My. God.



  1. “Nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-eight bats…
    Nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine bats…
    10 million! 10 million bats!
    Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!”

    1. I’m guessing that level of messy is the same as not being able to fly. You’d lose a lot of your lift cutting through all those bats.

  2. Wow! And I thought the 1.5M Mexican free-tail bats under the bridge in Austin was a Wonderful Thing :D that is truly an awesome array of fruitbattery.

    Still, the Austin ones eat 30,000lbs of mosquitoes and other insects each night, which means Austinites love them. Plus, they roost under a bridge over the river, so no guano problem!

    And yeah – those fruitbats are pretty big, so you’d lose a rotor, rather than just some lift. But in a hot air balloon, you’ll just get a few fried bats.

  3. Sir David Attenborough is the very best nature documentary film maker, period. If you liked this you’ll like every minute of footage from every documentary he has produced. I’ve always found myself gasping at the amazing footage and the truly enlightening scripts. He has managed to also capture a great number of first ever nature footage. His distinctive voice is also the most mimicked when people make parodies of nature sequences.

    His brother Sir Richard Attenborough directed Jurassic Park and Ghandi, among many other films, and has also starred in films.

  4. haha I don’t know why but the idea of having to fly in on a hot air balloon just to film these bats is pretty hilarious.

  5. i was going to comment and ask if a crap ton is more than a ton, and got to thinking, hey maybe it’s a real unit of measurement. so, to avoid looking the fool, i googled it and found an urban dictionary entry that said a crap ton is equal to four sh*t loads.

    well, color *me* enlightened!

  6. Huge flocks of birds used to be very common (yes, I’m aware that bats are not birds) until we killed them for sport. This is not that unusual in nature and should not be touted as the largest congregation ever. Ok, maybe we can say that its the largest flock to exist past the industrial age, but that’s it. This kind of sensationalism is what drove people to start killing off animals because they feared that they would take over and use up “our” precious resources.

  7. Wiki says they weigh 8-12oz, call it 10 oz. Google says 100,000,000oz is 2834 metric tons, or 3125 short tons. Since we only have the number of bats to 1 significant figure, I think it’s fairly safe to say:

    1 metric crap-ton =~ 3000 metric tons.

  8. I used to live near a friutbat colony, thousands of them hanging from trees at a peninsula-like bend in Cabramatta Creek.

    When walking past them on a hot summer day there was a hellish gust of B.O.

  9. Ok, normally I bite my tongue on this, but since the discussion has wondered off into talk about tons… Why do Americans use the term “metric ton” to refer to a very large amount of stuff? A metric tonne is less weight than standard (imperial) ton.

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