Last month we welcomed 40 brave amateur spelunkers into the bat cave recently discovered in the basement of the Bristol Improv Theatre. Not only did you become experts in identifying cuddly rubber bats but you also kindly filled out our evaluations and scrawled on our graffiti boards. Here is what you thought:
It’s that time again when we sit back and reflect on last month’s proceedings. As February’s Rising Ape event was bat themed, I’m tempted to say I’m sat in an old, cold and creaky castle, in a deep and dusty chair, scribbling by a candlelight which animates lurking figures on the walls. But after attending Enter the Bat Cave we know this demonic stereotype and the repulsion it spreads is unwarranted.
Bats, far from living up to their reputation as the archetypal Halloween animal, are actually quite cute. And thanks to Kiri and Stuart from the Avon Bat Group we all got up close and nocturnal with some pipistrelles – a cute little species found commonly in the UK.
Your quiz team names were, as ever, impeccable. We had the Hand Wings (Google it), Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Quiz Team (touché), Bats with Prostates (they do have them), and the Flying Rats (what did we just say about stereotypes, ey?).
And in the activity your bat untangling skills shone through. Many of you even became dab hands at bat identification – a skill that can take researchers many years to master.
Heather Nichol explained how wind turbines can and do affect bats in their environment. This isn’t an argument against renewable energy, far from it; we just have to make sure that in trying to save our world by mitigating climate change, we don’t unwittingly cause damage to local ecosystems.
The night hopefully did a small part to peel back the bad name of bats – the bloodsucking prejudice which taints the image of these fascinating creatures. Thank you again to everyone who came along and took part. Keep an eye out on Facebook or Twitter for our next event.
A BIG thank you to Kiri and Stuart from the Avon Bat Group for coming to Enter the Bat Cave and showing off the beautiful little animals they have in their care. Everyone really enjoyed getting up close and personal with an animal that is so rarely seen by the general public.
If you are interested in supporting Avon Bat Group, adopting a bat, or just want to know more about your new favourite mammal; you can find more information on their website at www.avonbatgroup.org.uk, or like their facebook page for regular updates. We hope that after all you learnt during the evening, you can really appreciate how important their work is.
Thank you to everyone who came last night, we hope you had a great evening! Keep an eye on the website for more information about our next event and for another of Antony’s excellent infographics about Enter the Bat Cave.
Plunge into the depths of one of Bristol’s darkest bat caves – a place where the echoes of lost souls linger and haunt the footsteps of all those who enter. Fleeting silhouettes of winged creatures lay claim to these walls, and the stench of guano weighs heavy on the air…
OK, so in reality we just turned off all the lights in the Bristol Improv Theatre, and the Rising Ape team forgot to wash, but bear with us for a moment. Rising Ape returns with a night of bat-themed madness. Bring a team and stretch your wings in the quiz. You better know your long ears from your short snouts, your Dracula from your Orlok, and your Slazenger from your Gunn & Moore. But as bat researchers stuck in a terrifying cave, we don’t expect you to just sit there all night. Be prepared to get up close and personal, untangling these creature’s fascinating secrets for yourselves with help from some special guests. To conclude the night’s eerie proceedings, real-life Batwoman Heather Nichol will share her personal journey into the world of bats.
Tickets available at http://improvtheatre.net/calendar/enter-the-bat-cave/
Tickets also available on the door.
More about Heather Nichol: Heather has been involved in bat conservation for the past 5 years. She was first introduced to the world of bats during her undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds, and has since taken part in various conservation projects, including a project that discovered the first know breeding colony of Alcathoe bats in the UK. Heather has just completed a Masters by Research at the University of Bristol studying one of the hot topics in ecology at moment: bat fatalities in wind farms in Britain.