Around 8 pm. A loud squawking, like a wounded bird, loud enough to make me wander downstairs and into the dark. Instead of a bird, I see the silhouette of a fruit bat, hanging from the arc of a banana tree leaf, at the top of a tree in the neighbors’ yard. Below, I see another shadow on the bananas.
Ah! I think, fruit bats fighting over the bananas! Matt tries to shine a flashlight from the livingroom window but is too far away. I lure him down, snag the flashlight. The beam reveals the beady eyes of the first bat, and its hanging body wrapped in its wings. The shadow below is hidden by the bunch of bananas, but it is not quite right. It is light gray, not silky black like the bat.
The fruit bat screams again, then takes off. And into the spotlight, atop the bananas, emerges a tiny gray possum, big round black eyes looking around quite calmly.
And back it goes, to munch on the bananas.
[A side note: the other part of the operetta is me shrieking and running back into the house, after Matt turns the flashlight on the giant spider web laced across the backyard and inhabited by a spider with a body the size of a silver dollar. And the squawking continues: the fruit bat has returned. I want a fruit bat!! They call them flying-foxes here. They do not use echo-location, and wow, can they fly! Amazing. They like mango trees here in Brisbane, and we see them flying out every dusk, dotting the sky…
Fruit bats: http://www.bats.org.au/?page_id=11