In the Dominican Republic there are more than 10 species of bats, I remember when I was a child and saw the bats flying in the city, now where I live I have not seen them for years.
In the neighborhood where I lived, I always saw bats at dusk and when night fell, they took refuge in the trees, I always wanted to catch one because of the curiosity they gave me, once I could catch one, I don’t even remember how.
At that time I was an ignorant child, my parents made me throw the bat away because I could catch a disease, I don’t even want to mention the word disease these days if you know what I mean…
But I remember clearly what it looked like, it was just like a mouse, but with wings, cool wings.
A species of bat endemic to the Dominican Republic
The Erophylla bombifrons santacristobalensis is endemic or exclusive to the Dominican Republic and was so named because it was found for the first time in the Cuevas del Pomier, San Cristóbal, although it is found in other caves in the country, particularly on the south coast.
They learned to coexist better at night with the species, because they ran less risk, being considered nocturnal mammals.
They are found in trees and caves, where they are abundant and can feel warmer.
There are about 1.1 million species in the world, except at the poles. Those considered “vampires” do not exist on any Caribbean island.
The Erophylla bombifrons santacristobalensis is characterized by having a long snout and tongue that allows it to enter the mouth in the flowers and bring the tongue to the nectar, differentiating it from others that have large ears with which they listen to flying insects that then serve them as food.
What do the bats of the Dominican Republic feed on?
They feed on nectar and pollen, and in general are among the species that contribute most to the proliferation of flora, including cacti in dry areas.
They disperse seeds and fertilize soils with their feces. Insectivores prevent the spread of pests.
People see them as evil because of their nocturnal habits and given their gloomy appearance are associated with demonic symbols, even in a famous painting of St. Michael with a sword trying to prevent the demon, black and bat wings, out of hell in flames, that aspect made people have that perception.
The bat in Dominican popular culture
The indigenous people saw them as their deceased relatives who came back to visit them at night, and that was a conservation strategy, because that way no one would stone or kill them, considering them as one of their relatives, said the environmentalist.
With the rescue of the Pomier, Mana and Conde de Yaguate Caves by the Ministry of the Environment and the Yaguate Municipality, these and other species of bats will be a reason to visit these protected areas.