Archive for October 19th, 2015

Merlin Tuttle is Batman

Monday, October 19th, 2015
Merlin showing free-tailed bat to visitors at Bracken Cave during a National Public Radio interview. Media

Merlin showing free-tailed bat to visitors at Bracken Cave.

This is Passport to Texas

Merlin Tuttle was a curious kid destined to become a scientist. He lived near a bat cave in high school and started making observations.

13- I found that the bats came in the spring and the fall, but were not there any other time of year. Yet, when I identified them, the field guides that I had said that this species of bat lived in one cave year round.

He wanted this misinformation corrected.

16-So, I caught some. I actually made specimens of a couple of them so that I could prove that I had what I said I had. And convinced my mother, just as a teenager, to drive me to the Smithsonian so I could tell the guys that wrote the books that there was something wrong.

So began a 55 year career that’s taken Dr. Tuttle around the world studying bats. He’s engages in hands on conservation and public education. One goal: remove the public’s fear of bats.

26-People hear that bats are dangerous–they’re going to cause you to get sick with some terrible malady. But in reality, bats have one of the finest safety records of any animal on our planet of living safely with humans. People like me, I’ve studies bats for 55 years now on every continent where they exist, spending literally hundreds if not thousands of hours actually in caves surrounded by millions of bats. And I’m still healthy!

Merlin Tuttle’s written about his life with bats in THE SECRET LIVES OF BATS: My Adventures with the World’s Most Misunderstood Mammals. It comes out this week.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.