Catching Bats by Hand! – The Mexican Free Tailed Bat


– I’m Coyote Peterson,
this is Wild Man Phil. The sun is going down,
and tonight we’re headed out into the desert
to look for bats. (dramatic music) The scorching deserts
of southern Arizona are unbearable during the day, and most of the wildlife stays hunkered under ground and out of sight. Generally, the best
time to see creatures of the desert is at night. So this evening
the crew and I are headed out to work with
wildlife specialist Philip Rakoci. Known best as Wild Man Phil, he’s a jack of all animals and will be helping
us search out one of the most
perfectly designed predators of the night in one of the places you’d least expect us to be looking. Phil, we are walking
up to a bridge here. This is not really
what I had in mind when you’re going
out looking for bats. But tell us why we’re gonna look under this bridge. – Well, because out
here in the flat desert, we don’t have a lot of mountains with a lot of caves. And luckily, as
people build things, they build bat habitats. So it’s kinda like going
to a giant bat house. We have bat houses
in your backyard where you might have
five or 10 bats. You build a bridge, you might
have a few thousand bats. – Okay, well let’s
go see if we can find a few thousand bats. So where are these
thousands of bats hiding? – Look in the tight
crack right up in here where they feel
safer during the day because nothing can get to them. – No, you were not kidding. Look at all those
little eyeballs. Oh, that is creepy looking. – [Philip] These are
Mexican free-tailed bats. – [Coyote] Okay, now
is this a species that can carry rabies? – [Philip] All bats can,
but Mexican free-tailed bats actually account
for very, very few cases of rabies. – Okay, so I don’t
have to worry about these guys shooting
out of that crevice onto my face and
grabbing onto me and bite me? – No, you shouldn’t have to. – [Coyote] Okay, because
bats kind of have a bad reputation. A lot of people
are afraid of bats. And, I mean, these
guys are so cute, I don’t see how you could
be afraid of this thing. You’re telling me
you’re able to capture one of these bats so we can get an up close look at it? – Yeah, bats can
be fairly fragile, so you have to know
what you’re doing. But now is a good
time to be able to do that. If we’ve got this
hook that we can fit up into there, we should be able to do that. It works best with
a two man team. So if you can hold
the light up there, and watch out, they
might poop in your eye. – [Coyote] Yeah,
no, I’m well aware. I will stay over
here and try not to get pooped on. – Try and get this guy
down right about here. – [Coyote] Oh, he’s got one. He’s got one. Wow! Look at that little guy! And he’s not biting you? – No, that’s another thing
that’s kind of a learned thing is how to grab them and not get bit. You want to hold him gently, that’s important, but
not enough that he can squirm and get away. But I want to show you. – Wow, look at those wings! – [Philip] And that’s his hand. – Look at that. So that’s his arm and these are all those little
extended fingers, right? – Yeah, so right here,
that’s his elbow, and then this is his hand. That is his thumb. And then he’s got
fingers just like us, one here, one here,
one here, one here. And as he opens those up, he’s got a long pinky finger. – [Coyote] Wow, so
this at the end here, this is his pinky? – [Philip] Yep, the last
one right here at the tip. Now I mentioned it’s
a free-tailed bat, so this is his free tail. This little piece
of skin right here called a uropatagiam, it’s a big long word that means skin between his
foot and his tail, and he actually has a piece of cartilage, a cartilage ring, that goes around his vertebrae, and he has muscles. So he can actually
pull this down or up. So he can have a little
tail or a long tail. – So the tail helps
him pivot in the air? – Yeah. – And then he’s got that bug net to scoop his dinner. – Yep, and then open that up, grab that bug, pop the foot in, pull the bug out, throw it in your mouth, all while flying. – That is one efficient
predator right there. Phil has shown me the technique of how to catch these
Mexican free-tailed bats. And now it’s my turn to try to give it a go. Fishing for bats is
what we call this. – [Philip] Okay, you’ll
kinda go up past them a little bit, and then
when you slide it, you’ll feel if
you hit something. – [Coyote] Oh, oop, geez! – [Philip] Close. You got the technique, you got the technique. – I got two on that one, and then I kinda startled. They both jumped out, and Mark, one flew right under your leg. Okay, let me try that again. Missed him. Catching bats is not easy. I think you got some bat poop on your lens there. I got one. I got him, I got him. Don’t get bit, don’t
get bit, don’t get bit. Yes! Look at this little guy. Only took me 10 tries, but that is the Mexican
free-tailed bat. A little mouse with wings. But my goodness,
have you ever seen such a cute little critter? Look at those wings. Holy cow. Wow, the skin on these wings, it feels like real thin latex. Unbelievable, and
look at those veins all going through
the wings there. Holy cow, I have never
captured a bat before. First time for me. Now what’s the best way
to release this guy? If I let go, will he
just kinda fly off? – [Philip] The best thing
is if you can kinda close him up without getting bit and let his back legs
grab onto your finger, and then when you open up, then he’ll know when
he’s ready to drop down. – And I think he’s
probably ready to take off into the night. Phil, I cannot thank you enough for taking us out here tonight to catch the Mexican
free-tailed bat. My first time catching a bat, underneath a bridge! Well, how can we find you and the work that you do? – Wildmanphil.com. – Sweet. Check out Phil’s work. I’m Coyote Peterson. Be brave. Stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure. If you thought that
was one wild adventure, check out these other
animal encounters, and don’t forget,
subscribe to follow me and the crew on this season of Breaking Trail. This episode of Breaking Trail was brought to by
the Buypower card from Capital One. Every purchase brings you closer to a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac vehicle. (animal noises)

100 thoughts on “Catching Bats by Hand! – The Mexican Free Tailed Bat”

  1. When I first heard the bats, I thought it was in my house and not coming from the video😂It scared the hell out of me. But yeah, I agree that Bats are one of the cutest animals.

  2. Weird story.

    You : I pet a bat.
    Your friend : A bat? It's not a animal. It's a stuff.
    You : No, I talking the bat that move.
    Your friend : Stuff move? How.
    You : … come to my home then.
    In home

    Your friend : AHHHH WHAT THE HELL IS THAT FLYING CREATURE SJDNSHDVR
    You : it's a bat. -_-
    Your friend : OUT OF MY HOUS OUT OF MY house.
    You : Actually this is my house and why you threaten my pet to get out?
    Your friend : Oh.

  3. It was that day that coyote realized he would be a creature of the night. He would hunt animal poachers everywhere: he’d become Batman.

  4. Sir
    I am from Pakistan
    You now about bats nest and how they make and were they make and what is this function in bat live
    Plz give me the answers as soon as possible

  5. Bruh, in second grade, my teacher showed this video in class! When the guy was spreading the bats wings, the kid next to me could not stop screeching like a banshee to the whole class that he was going to tear its wing off. I went deaf for 15 minutes 😂😂😂😂😂

  6. I got some smal bats in my porch in Washington I wunder what kind of bat it is the pop like rats I thought some rats had came along and popped on my porch until I heard squeaky sounds

  7. Oh I love bats. They are so awesome. I have had a few run ins with bats since I moved north. One flew in my bus, I have rescued 2 and tried to save a 3rd but was to late. I always use gloves though.

  8. Theyre creepy cute. When it first showed them all hunched into a corner 1:21*, yes that is creepy like vampire level creepy. But just one by itself is sooo cute *2:31*. Dont tell me this isnt creepy though *3:39 .

  9. Hey Coyote, you should bring awareness to the fungal disease that's killing off the Big Brown Bat. You should also try to find the cotton ball of a bat called a Ghost Bat. They're the cutest bat species ever! 🙂

  10. Wow I saw BIGGER BATS AT A TRAIN UNDER it's like a shelter I saw thousands I thought it was a rat but it's a bat (who are reading can j try looking up at a train station under there might be alots)

  11. coyote can you do a video that you try to catch a penguin up close to the camera? are you up too the challenge?

  12. By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.
    He likes the attic of an ageing house.

    His fingers make a hat about his head.
    His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.

    He loops in crazy figures half the night
    Among the trees that face the corner light.

    But when he brushes up against the screen,
    We are afraid of what our eyes have seen.

    For something is amiss or out of place
    When mice with wings can wear a human face.

    — The Bat by Theodore Roethke

  13. What if I tell you the Coronavirus didn't originate from the bats. Instead the human itself caused the Coronavirus. If the Coronavirus came from bats shouldn't have we been infected here in the USA already. Bats are everywhere.

  14. These Bats Are Essential to the Sonoran Dessert. They play the same role as Bee's by spreading pollen from diffrent Cactus flowers. Amazing animals no doubt!

  15. We had a bat on our window and he would not move at all, I used a small stick and barely tapped him and he opened his wings and shut them quickly, it was like he tried to hug the stick😂 they are like angry little cotton balls with dragon wings

  16. after seeing this, Who else wants him to get up close and personal with the Vampyrum spectrum (Spectral bat) from the south?

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