Accra Ghana Temple

Accra Ghana Temple
Accra Ghana Temple

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Fruit Bats Are Here!

I've been waiting for this since the day we moved to Ghana -- the return of the fruit bats, sometimes called flying foxes.  The fruit bat has an excellent sense of smell.  While many people believe all bats are blind, fruit bats are really the only bats that do not have the best sight; they mostly do everything with their nose.  And they eat fruit exclusively.

Ghana has a large number of endemic bat species. It is nearly impossible to not see a colony of the Straw-colored Fruit Bats. They roost in trees and in the early morning they are quite noisy as they squabble over branches to roost on. There is a huge colony of perhaps 2000 individuals that make their home in trees near the 37th Military Hospital in Accra.

It was really fun for me to drive down Independence Avenue on my way to the Accra Temple and see the thousands of fruit bats roosting in the trees near the Military Hospital. Accra is in their migration pattern and at some point, they will move on and return again next year.

The locals tell the following story.  There once was a king who became very sick and was brought to the Military Hospital in Accra.  The bats loved him very much and flew to Accra to be near him.  The king eventually died there.  But no one told the bats - so they return every year to this same location.

There is a large tree near the swimming pool of our gated community.  We were told that the bats loved to roost there, but because they created such a mess, the gardeners cut the tree back drastically and the bats have abandoned this location.  However, during one of our morning swims we saw hundreds of bats swarming in a neighboring yard.  That was close enough for me.