Batman won’t like it…
Bats are a food source for humans in some areas. Bats are consumed in various amounts in Seychelles, Indonesia, Vietnam, Guam, and in China.
During cooking, bats may emit strong odors reminiscent of urine. This may be reduced by adding garlic, onion, chili pepper or beer during cooking.
In Vietnam, the bat meat is sometimes added to rice porridge, while in Laos and Cambodia bat heads are fried on skewers and in some areas are a popular snack. In these countries, small bats are generally stewed over low heat with vegetables. There are also recipes for boiled and finely chopped bat meat, the extract of which is used as a tonic. In the Philippines, the consumption of the Dobsonia chapmani species was widespread and is now endangered due to intensive hunting.
In West Africa, food consumption of bats is recorded in Guinea and Sierra Leone, but is most common in Burkina Faso, where bat meat dishes are quite popular: residents of the country hunt them with guns, air guns or fry them with slingshots made from tree branches and elastics.
Bats are cute and good for the ecosystem. Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone.
Certain bats are now suspected of causing some of the world’s most feared diseases. And all the trouble started because some people, rather than leave them alone, eat them.
Bats had already been found to harbor the nasty Hendra and Neepa viruses. And bats have so many disease-harboring and -spreading talents that researcher Kathryn Holmes calls them “magnificent vectors”. They’re more closely related to humans than you might think (some classify them as primates). They are relatively long lived, a potentially stable home. They huddle together during the day, sneezing and coughing on each other and spreading viruses around, even to other bat species. Then at night, they spread out for miles, potentially spreading disease far and wide. Some even think they can carry diseases without getting very sick themselves. Yikes.
How is it that humans managed to get these diseases? It looks like the sale of bats for food is to blame for bringing folks and flying furballs together. Most Westerners cringe at the thought of eating the critters, but they are prized as food in other parts of the world. The outbreak of SARS is likely due to humans mingling with bats in the crowded markets of southern China.
Now the poor creatures are suspected of spreading the hideous Marburg and Ebola viruses. Could it get any worse? Yes. The eating of giant fruit bats or “flying foxes” on the island of Guam is now blamed for causing one of the most baffling and disturbing epidemics ever— a sudden appearance of a Parkinson’s disease-like syndrome in the 1970’s.
Currently a new SARS-like virus from China is spreading allover the globe. After all of this, bats need a friend. But don’t give them a hug. And don’t eat them.
© 2020 DRTV