Reversing the Numbness

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Sleek Awards: Best Non-Domesticated Animal

This is the inaugural Sleek Award, and it's an important one. With the millions of species of animals roaming the earth, it might seem a daunting task to single out one as the best of the non-domesticates, but I've done it confidently and definitively. Without further ado, the best non-domesticated animal on planet Earth is:

The bat.

There are about 1,100 species of bats worldwide, so it would be hard to single out one species as the absolute greatest. So bats of all kinds -- chestnut short-tailed bats, mastiff bats, black myotis bats, long-tongued bats, disk-winged bats, fringe-lipped bats, and all the rest -- can share in this prestigious award.

You may be wondering why the bat was chosen as the recipient of the inaugural Sleek Award. The reasons follow:

1. Flight. Bats are the only mammals that can really fly. Sure, so called "flying" squirrels can get a pretty good glide going, but let's see what happens when they need to get back up into the tree. That's right -- they have the climb the bitch. No, only the bat can make a mammalian claim to the sky.

2. Echolocation. Bats can "see" better through echolocation than most mammals, including yours truly, can see with their eyes. Dolphins and whales use echolocation as well, but are they plucking bugs out of the air with it? I don't think so. I shot a beetle out of the air with a BB gun once when I was a kid and I've been talking about it ever since. Bats do it hundreds of times a night. You should see the greater bulldog bat echolocate frogs -- maybe ten a night! -- that are trolling along the surface of the water. They're hopeless -- the bat will win that fight every time. All of that said, it's a myth that bats have poor eyesight. Most bats actually have an acute sense of vision, particularly at distances greater than their echolocation can reach.

3. I hate bugs. At least the ones that mess with you when you're trying to have a beer on your porch. Bats will not only let you have your beer, but they'll also munch the bugs that are trying to thwart you. Bats rule for this.

4. They have insanely cool wings.

5. They're super cute. Face it, bats are about as cute as it gets. Think I'm crazy? Check out this adorable little spotted bat:

What a little sweet-pea. You think this bastard can't hear? And how about the giant golden-crowned flying fox?

Nothing short of gorgeous.

6. They've got great poop. Bat guano is an excellent organic fertilizer.

7. They're so not rodents. Bats are so far from rodents it almost makes me vomit. I hate rodents, as you'll see when I announce the Sleek Award for worst non-domesticated animal. Some bastards think of bats as flying rodents, and these are often the same people who double-park their Corvettes and chain their dogs up. Bats are more closely related to whales than they are rodents. Seriously.

8. They're creatures of the night. In order to be cool, you have to stay out late. Bats do.

9. Long tongues. One species of bat has the longest tongue relative to its body size of any other mammal. Gene Simmons, you rotten poser, eat your heart out.

Okay, so bats sometimes carry rabies, and most people in the US who get rabies actually do get it from bat bites. Big whoop. I'm not going to let this little detail get in the way of the magnificent bat getting its rightful claim to the Sleek Award for the best non-domesticated animal in the world.


The Dalai Mama said...

Yeah. They're pretty cool. They still freak me out a little. I'm not sure why. That fox-bat is just nuts. WTF?

getto said...

Dude, I frickin' hate bats. You know how many diseases they carry? I remember walking into a friends basement one day, only to see the drunken, flying shadow. When we realized it was a bat, we screamed like little girls at a Menuedo concert and jumped behind the couch. Only when we armed ourselves with tennis rackets, and a hockey goalie stick, were we able to attempt to even the score. Needless to say, the event invloved alot of running and screaming. Eventually we got it out the door. Good times!

SleekPelt said...

dm: Yeah, the fox bat gets to keep the trophy at his house.

geto boy: I'd take ten bats in the basement over one rat. That's a promise. (No offense to Randy Rat.)

The Dalai Mama said...

getto: That is some seriously funny shit! I would've totally joined in with the screaming and hiding in that situation.

Zee said...

Getto- I had a similar incident with a bat in the house when I was a wee little tyke. My two sisters went--forgive me--batshit crazy. It ended with the bat smacked through our wall with a broom.

SleekPelt said...

10. Bats inspired Batman, one of the best superheroes of all time, and also play an integral role in vampire lure, perhaps the greatest monster of all time. Not sure how I forgot to include that among the reasons the bat gets the nod.

getto said...

Batman, my ass! Superman could slap him silly.
Picture "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" when he is running through the jungle, at the end with the giant white bat-that's me.

SleekPelt said...

geto boy: Batman is infinitely cooler than Superman.

Carla said...

Awesome! I wonder about all these people ending up with bats in their houses. Heard another story about that just the other day. I just don't get how that happens so often. Gotta admit, although I wouldn't want one as a pet, they are pretty interesting.

Zee said...

Batman has in fact bested Superman many times. Most memorably in Frank Miller's acclaimed Dark Knight Returns. See also Grant Morrison's run on the first storyline of the most recent JLA launch (New World Order). Batman is best, hands down. That being said, Bruce Wayne himself hates bats.

josh williams said...

Bats are cool, I spoke to the sixth grade class of a teacher friend of mines nearly 10 years in a row about bats. The routine went,he would tell me when my apperance was to take place, we would get together the night before and drink lots of beer and the first couple of years we would actuallly agree after a few beers that The Golden Guide to Bats (geared toward childrens, not bad for adults) was our best resource.After this it was just basically question and answer, let me tell you to keep students interested is not within my powers, but my buddy could round them up and make them listen.
We did this during his first and second wife, his third wife we quit because he quit teaching, but has gone back to the craft which is cool he was a great teacher.So I may become a bat expert once again if he askess's, I dunno, if he does ask I will ready my spare bedroom for his next attempt at being a single....Did you know the bumble bee bat weighed less than a dime?

SleekPelt said...

carla: I remember an incident where we had a bad in the house when I was a kid as well. Bats just do it every now and then to remind us who's boss.

zee: I knew you'd have my back on the Batman/Superman thing.

josh: I had no idea we had a bat expert in our midst. I was unaware of the existence of the bumblebee-bat. I wonder if it would win in a fight with a humming bird?

all: I should clarify, thanks to the diligent research of the Dalai Mama, that only microbats have echolocation. Megabats like the giant fruit bat, which really is just a flying freaking fox, has no such sixth sense but simply get by on unbearable coolness.

spooge said...

birds are mammals right? but bats are should get a bat house. I personally don't have one...but aside from cleaning all the bat dung, i imagine that it would be pretty cool.

SleekPelt said...

spooge: No, birds aren't mammals. Just birds. As for the bat house, the DM and I were looking at them last night. I'm not opposed to that idea at all, but my neighbors might be. I'll have to convince them.

spooge said...

just tell them that "Guano happens."

spooge said...

Unfortunately, the Bat is under threat from Man. With the earth on the brink of destruction from global warming, Man has erected the windmill, to produce cleaner energy, in an effort to reduce CO2 emmissions. But the bats just can't seem to avoid running into them.


Solution? Use vast amounts of oil, smoke lots of cigarettes, and consume large quantities of McDonald's double cheeseburgers. With any luck, you'll die before you have to see the demise of the Bat.

Clash said...

We have some "bat houses" in our backyard. They help with skeeters and other flying pests and they are cool to watch at dusk.

SleekPelt said...

clash: Some of these microbats we have in the US can eat hundreds -- HUNDREDS! -- of skeeters in a single hour. And tell me, Clash, how many times have you been bitten by one of your bats?

SleekPelt said...

spooge: I've heard this before, and some birds are having trouble with windmills as well. As for "guano happens" -- that's just freakin' brilliant, pal.

Clash said...

Ha. This sounds like a Public Service Announcement for bats... but I have never been bitten.