Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 3 (1899).djvu/73

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No. 692.— February, 1899.


By Charles Oldham.

The observation of Bats in a free state is, owing to their nocturnal habits and peculiar mode of life, a matter of considerable difficulty, and but very little is known of the economy of even our common British species. Many of their actions may be studied in captivity, but it is not easy to maintain the supply of insect food essential to the welfare of the little creatures, which seldom survive confinement long. These considerations are perhaps sufficient excuse for the publication of the following notes on a Bat which I kept alive for nearly five weeks last winter.

On Nov. 27th I obtained a male Whiskered Bat, Myotis mystacinus (Leisler), from one of the tunnels of the disused copper mines on Alderley Edge. It would not eat some meal-worms I offered it, although it greedily lapped water from a camel-hair pencil and from the palm of my hand. Five days later, after many unsuccessful attempts to induce the Bat to feed, I procured some moths (Scotosia dubitata) from the copper mines, and placed them in a box with it; but no attention was paid to them. On the evening of the following day I placed the Bat under a bell-jar with six of the moths, and, on going to look at it an hour afterwards, found that it had caught and eaten them all, rejecting only the wings and legs. The available supply of moths was exhausted in a few days, and I began to despair of keeping my

Zool. 4th ser. vol. III., February, 1899.