Habitat: occurs in the desert zone from Morocco and northern Niger through Egypt and the Arabian peninsula to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan to as far east as north-west India Status: Least Concern
Check out the humongous ears on this guy! All the better to hear you with I’m sure. In the Desert long-eared bat’s (Otonycteris hemprichii) case he uses those dumbo ears (40 mm in length) to pick up the minute sounds of scorpions walking along the desert sand. You see Desert long-eared bats (let’s call them DLB’s for short) looove the taste of scorpion and will go to great lengths to catch their notoriously venomous prey.
In a study in Israel, scientists determined that 70% of the contents in the bat’s droppings were scorpion fragments. The next step was to determine exactly how the bats caught these deadly creatures and which species they were willing to go after, since some of them are highly toxic like the Palestine yellow scorpion. The results of their findings were incredible. The bats would swoop down and capture the scorpion, bite its head off (all while receiving several poisonous stings to the face) and then zoom back up into the sky with the rest of its meal. Scorpions must make excellent on-the-go snacks.
As described in a NewScientist.com article, “They attacked different scorpion species equally, regardless of how venomous they were: they were just as happy with relatively harmless large-clawed scorpions as with moderately toxic common yellow scorpions. Both pale in comparison with the 10-centimetre Palestine yellow scorpion, which is popularly known as the death stalker because of its extremely toxic venom. The bats ate those just as willingly, stings or no.”
As noted in another study , “they drop right on to their scorpion prey and may be repeatedly stung on the body and face while subduing them: amazingly, this seems to have no effect and the bats display no evidence whatsoever of selecting scorpions based on their size or toxicity.”
Pretty daring moves for a creature that looks just like a tiny flying mouse huh?
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