We recently spotted a bat like creature in our roof space and took a photograph. Curious, we sought to identify the little chap using the power of the internet. But little did we know that our discovery would trigger excitement in the international bat conservation community.

For the last 4 years or so we have heard the odd ‘chirp’ at the back of our building from time to time in the evenings. We suspected bats were in residence.

But every time we subsequently heard the chirps and tried to spy what was making them all we saw was the feint outline of something flying away.

The tell tale signs that something was living there – guano – was evident so at least, we thought, we weren’t imagining things.

But the bats we normally see flying around at night don’t make a noise like those we had heard.

Time passed and our curiosity waned.

But then, the other day much to our surprise, we caught our first view of the squatter.

It was brown, with bat like wings and was just hanging upside down on one of our exposed roof girders.

We quickly grabbed the camera to take a picture aware that if the creature saw us it would probably fly off. But it didn’t, and as we took photos, it just looked at us.

And there is remained for the next two days only leaving at night presumably to feed.

Curious we wondered what it was and set out on our detective trail.

Our brief research using the internet was inconclusive. It could be an Egyptian Fruit Bat but the images we found didn’t match exactly and that type of bat had never been recorded in this area before in any case.

Stumped for an answer we contacted the UK Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) who operates a national bat help line. We filled in their online enquiry form asking if they could identify the bat and any information regarding conservation of the species in Turkey. Later that day we received an email and set off our pictures.

A few days passed and then came the answer. It was, to the best of their knowledge, an Egyptian Fruit Bat (Latin name – Rousettus)and they also provided details of a Turkish academic in Istanbul who could be interested in the news.

But what followed when we email this person was totally unexpected.

The academic from Istanbul contacted a group of bat conservationists from a university in the Czech Republic who are coordinating an international team to monitor what is an endangered species of fruit bat.

Egyptian Fruit Bat - Rousettus - Fethiye, Turkey 2009

Ivan who leads the team then emailed:

“Great! It is really Rousettus!”

“For me personally and the international team associated along the research project on the current status and history of that species in the Mediterranean and Middle East (the only resident population of fruit bats beyond limits of tropes) it is indeed a big new, refining the range of the species in an essential way. We did not expected occurrence of the species so near to Aegeis.”

He then said a team would be visiting Fethiye to estimate the population of these fruit bats.

Well we were taken aback. We’ve made a fantastic discovery and now the bat world is going ‘batty’!

Have You Seen Bat’s Like These?

The team of researchers will need some help to try and find the places where these fruit bats are roosting and this is where you may be able to help.

Have you seen bats like these roosting in the area? Have you seen them flying around at night and wondered what they were. If so please email us with your information fethiyetimes@gmail.com

It seems Fethiye is now the location of an amazing wildlife story!