Saturday, October 1, 2011
CAVE BATS ARE A close relative of fruit bats. While fruit bats grow in size, their cave-dwelling cousins are smaller compared to them. Despite its habitat, cave bats do eat fruits aside from small insects. In short, both species share the same diet.
These bats are of such common sight and are numerous. This is not a threatened species though unlike those of fruit bats and you could hunt these provided that it is not for commercial purposes. However, environmental laws and ordinances could change in every place, city or barrio and it is best to respect these so as not to antagonize the local administrators.
Cave bats, just like any other bats, for that matter, are edible and can be eaten when properly cooked. Catching this by hand is out of the question. Remember this, BATS DO HAVE RABIES! They bite and they claw and scratch when cornered just like any wild animal. Never touch a bat unless you are quite sure that it is already dead.
Most people catch bats using guns. If you think this is the easiest, think again. These nocturnal creatures are agile fliers and could cover distances in fleeting seconds. I have tested the agility of bats by shooting it with a toy gun that shoot small plastic pellets and it maneuvered itself around my tiny bullets easily. I have not tried though with a gun that fire high-velocity rounds like a rifle but I have seen bats being shot through the wings and, worse, through the body, leaving a little meat to cook and eat.
Wiser hunters catch cave bats using nets strung across its path. The nets are placed in between tree branches or amid two fruit trees. Here in the Philippines, rural folks use bamboo thorns called kagingking and these are very effective if you know where to look for the bats' flight pattern.
The best place to catch cave bats is at the cave itself. The bats are located on the ceiling of the cave chamber during daytime. When disturbed these will fly pell-mell all over the chamber and no two bats will collide each other despite the sheer number of them and are agile enough to evade anything you throw or hit with. With a net placed along the passages, they will just simply get entangled and caught.
By that method, you will be catching a lot of bats that is way above your consumption and so a lot will be wasted and that is doing disservice to the environment and morally wrong. Be sensible. Catch only what you need. However, there is a better way.
Try standing strategically outside a cave entrance and arm yourself with a three-foot long stick. Have another companion spook the bats inside with a flashlight or by just hollering and wait for the bats swarming out of the cave. Any creature coming from the dark and into the light would be momentarily blinded and this will be your chance to catch your bats.
With your stick, whack anything that fly by. You can even count your hits and stop when you think you have enough. Five to ten bats for a group of four persons is enough provided you know how to skin a bat. First, be sure that it is not alive. Second, provide yourself a sharp knife or any sharp bladed weapon. Third, prepare some salt and garlic.
Severe the head and make a cut from the neck down to the abdomen and pull skin slowly by cutting the inners of the skin from the meat. The wings will go with the skin as you pull it out. Remove the guts and any unwanted parts. Severe the claws and the tail.
With the same knife, cut away the sinews. It is the white thread-like part running along the back, the breast, the forearms and hind legs. Leaving this on the meat during your cooking will leave an unsavory smell and so it is recommended that you remove this part to make your bat meal real tasty. Dispose all the unwanted animal parts in a secure location far from your camping place and bury these.
Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and dab this with salt. Never wash the meat with water. Blood found in the meat react to water and so will also leave an unappealing odor during cooking. Crush some garlic and smear this on the meat as well. Salt and garlic are the best antiseptic and would secure your meat from decay and to discourage insects like ants. Then you cook. Cooking will kill unseen microbes that stay inside its host.
Actually, there are many ways how to cook bat meat. The easiest would be by cooking over ember or glowing charcoal as in barbecue style. Skewered or laid on fairly-large fresh leaves is okay. You could steam this as well by hanging and individually wrapped inside leaves or aluminum foil or make a soup out of this. But the best way to cook this is by frying in oil. Bat adobo is good.
They say bats taste like chicken. I beg to disagree. Bats taste better than chicken. Even better than game fowls and the smaller native variety.
Happy hunting and enjoy your bushcraft weekend. Bon apetit.
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