Animals Video

By Mikey Jones 


These bats have found a great way to present themselves – by turning into a little gift bouquet.

African straw coloured bats, the second largest in Africa, were gathered to rest after a night time feeding frenzy.

PIC BY BRIAN MATTHEWS / CATERS NEWS

Huddled together on a single branch, the animals look like a sweet bunch of flowers.

Returning in their thousands to settle down in a forest for the day as the sun rises, the bats dominate the morning sky.

However, they do not have it all their own way, as predators swoop in to grab them as they return home.

The pictures were taken by Brian Matthews, a wildlife photographer in Hartlepool, at the Kasanka National Park in northern Zambia.

Brian, 39, said: “These African straw coloured bats migrate across African from as far at Cameroon on the west coast.

PIC BY BRIAN MATTHEWS / CATERS NEWS

“They gather in areas of fruiting trees with the last stop being in Zambia.

“The numbers are estimated to be between seven to ten million bats.

“Satellite tracking studies have shown that this species is capable of migrating thousands of miles each year, giving it the furthest recorded migration of any African mammal.

“They head out to feed at sunset, spend the night in the trees eating fruit then come back as the sun starts to rise.

“It takes nearly 1 hour for the bats to settle in the small area of forest they roost in during the day. This forest has a small river running through it that keeps it at the prefect temperature for the bats during the day as they sleep and rest

PIC BY BRIAN MATTHEWS / CATERS NEWS

“We spent a week in the park working with the Kasanka Conservation trust, getting up at 3:30am every day, climbing the mahogany trees to get in position and set up ready for the bats to fly by from about 6am.

“With all the bats, predators come to feed on them. Eagles, lots of pythons, leopards and crocodiles move into the area when the bats arrive.”