Fri 3: Everyone is going batty…

Covid-19 likely came from a bat, so let’s get to know the critter that got us into this mess.

Written by      

Rob Suisted

Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story. If young readers find it tricky; just look at the pictures and read the captions to figure it out.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the shark story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • In the top picture of a bat in flight, can you see the shape of the bones extending out from the shoulder? The article describes these as being like a human hand – in what ways do they look hand-like to you? How do they look different to a human hand?
  • What texture or material does the membrane of the bat’s wing look like to you? Why does this membrane look suitable to help the bat’s lifestyle? Do you think bats would be better at flying than birds? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think the writer takes a while to fully comprehend that bats are mammals?
  • Did anything in this article make you laugh? What was it?
  • Kākāpō and bats are both “lek” breeders; the males get together to attract females by making impressive noises. Can you think of any other characteristics these creatures have in common? Can you think of a common garden insect that is also a lek breeder?

Task for the day

Leonardo da Vinci found birds and bats fascinating. He studied their wings carefully to try to unlock the secrets of flight, hundreds of years before planes were successfully invented. Studying nature for technological inspiration is called bio-mimicry. Lots of great inventors spent their childhood as careful watchers of the natural world.

Making a leaf rubbing is a good way to study nature.

  • Place a piece of paper on top of a leaf. The leaf should be upside down so that the veins are bumpy.
  • Make sure you have a hard smooth surface such as a book underneath.
  • Rub a crayon over the paper. The veins and outline will show through clearly.
  • For best results, try not to move the paper while you are rubbing.
  • If you have some pointy leaves, try making a bat with “leaf” wings.

Send us your finished drawings!