Magazine article International Wildlife

One Woman's Flying Fox Is Another's Nightmare

Magazine article International Wildlife

One Woman's Flying Fox Is Another's Nightmare

Article excerpt

Bats everywhere draw their share of human supporters and detractors, and the flying foxes of Australia-bats that can reach three feet or more from wingtip to wingtip-are no exception. People either love them or hate them.

One person who adores them is zoologist Nicola Markus, the author of a story in this issue (see page 24) that enumerates various far-out facts on Australia's four flying fox species. In the process of earning a Ph.D., she used radio-tracking equipment to follow black flying foxes through urban Brisbane (photo left).

Markus' ongoing observations of people's interactions with bats go back to her early school years and continue today. One recent episode had to do with a black flying fox named Roger that she'd raised from infancy:

Seems that Roger spent several chilly autumn days under his master's blazer jacket suspended from her shoulder. "While talking with an unsuspecting visitor at work one morning," Markus relates, "I was alarmed to see the lady's face suddenly turn white as her wide-eyed gaze fixed in horror on my upper chest. …

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