March 14, 2014

Colombo's Bat Park

Perhaps one of the stranger sights I witnessed in Colombo, apart from a solitary white woman who expertly used only her hands to devour a meal served on a banana leaf at a traditional Sri Lankan eatery, was a park in the middle of the city filled with hundreds of bats. Multitudes of these webbed mammals were roosting high above me on the branches of several trees clustered in the centre of Viharamahadevi Park on a sunny afternoon. 

I looked up with curiosity, but also frequently down at my feet to establish the path I should follow to avoid an undesired coat of bat guano. Using my powers of probabilistic reasoning to ward of danger, I tiptoed my way around the heavily splotched sections on the ground and maintained a brisk pace to avoid being pelted by any dastardly droppings. 

I was astounded by seeing so many of these creatures of the night out in pure daylight, as usually I only encounter them in caves or other dimly lit locations. I escaped unharmed and later found out that they are fruit bats of the Indian Flying Fox variety, addicted to fruit juice and capable of swallowing pieces of fruit in their entirety.