Gift an article

THE BIG READ | Bats got us into the Covid-19 crisis but they may also prove to be our saviours

accreditation
Share your Subscriber Article
You have 5 articles to share every month. Send this story to a friend!
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
loading...
Loading, please wait...
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Although Natterer’s bats have tiny bodies they have a wing span of 30cm, which can make them look rather intimidating. (Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Although Natterer’s bats have tiny bodies they have a wing span of 30cm, which can make them look rather intimidating. (Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Beyond the entrance to a dank, forsaken chalk mine on the edge of a wooded thicket in Surrey, England, I’m waiting for the arrival of what may just be the planet’s most unpopular creature. This year’s, certainly.

It’s late September and the time is a little after 7pm. Above us, the harvest moon, full and bright, takes its place at the head of things. At least we won’t be in total darkness.

“Shouldn’t be long now,” says ecologist Daniel Whitby, beneath his head torch. There are five of us in the mine: Daniel; his fellow ecologists, Annika Binet and Liz Walsh; and Walsh’s husband, Ronan, who’s just tagging along.

Read this for free
Get 14 days free to read all our investigative and in-depth journalism. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed.
Try FREE for 14 days
Already a subscriber? Sign in