Jessica, Scientist, Milk discussed on Earth Rangers

Earth Rangers


Bat. And so now, I've got a little juvenile male bat in my hand. And if you put your twosomes next to each other that's about how big the body of the bat is oh my God. So amazing. Well, he's got his wings all spread out, and you can see the membranes. And he's oh tiny. And they only way I don't know like ten twelve grams which is about the weight of two quarters. So the next time you go to the dollar store and you're holding fifty cents. That's about how much one of these bass ways. Really a little tiny guys. Yeah. But really feisty as we talked the bat chomped down on Jessica's gloves with its tiny sharp peas, and it started screaming at her. And that's this little guys making those squeaking noises. So that's what a bat sounds like when it's trying to squirm out of your grasp exactly what it sounds like. And they have to say bats are lot different up close than I'd imagined. They're actually kinda cute to me. They look like little puppies. And they've got these huge ears and these little wrinkly lips and he's little whiskers. And so one of my favorite things to do is to bring people out to actually see bats up close because a lot of times. It'll change the way that they feel about bats, which is one of the most rewarding aspects of this work for me. Once we're finished doing an I'm over the adorable baby bat, Jessica got to work. I she had to figure out how old the bat was by measuring the distance between two joint bones and its wing. I've got a microscope here that oddly enough, I actually back light with my cell phone. Because that's the best way to see the joint, and I measure the gap through the microscope. She also drew blood from the tail in collected pellets poop that the bat left behind in the bag. And then there's the issue of bat milk. Oh love the job of a scientist. I know bad milk is actually really difficult to get. Sure. I'm sure it is it really is like milking a cow or any other animal. It's just that they're so tiny. What was it? Like the first time you melt the bat. Very difficult. So has tested my patience. But yeah. So the first time I ever milked that we were catching them earlier in the night. And so they hadn't really produce a lot of milk it. And so I wasn't sure if I was doing it wrong, or if the batch just didn't have milk. And so the first one that I was able to successfully milk like, I don't we? I think like through our hands up into the air and like jumped up and down because we were so excited that it finally worked. I can imagine not too many people have successfully milked the bat probably not enough to make cheese even. Yeah. I think artisanal cheeses thing for good reason. Be like a tiny little pellet. I should also say that you really shouldn't try to catch a bat yourself because there's definitely a risk of rabies noted. So what does Jessica do with all these bat fluids and measurements? She uses them for a little bit of science detective work to figure out what the bat have been eating. So I'm going to be doing stable isotope analysis from the milk samples, and then also from insect samples stable Tope analysis is a technique that reveals unique chemical fingerprint and bat food Jessica's challenge is to find those fingerprints within samples of blood in the pellets of poop from the babies once she does that she can track how the bat diet changes from milk to insects over the course of the summer. So that's really cool. But why is it important to know? How bats are weaned one of the reasons is simply that we don't know. That's our. Are are pretty under studied up till now. And so there's a lot of really basic questions that we just don't know about that. So that in itself is enough to drive me to ask a question. But it's more than that. What Jessica learns could be really important for conservation. Meaning how we protect animals species and their environments understanding the most stressful periods with the highest mortality rates are really important. I guess a classic example of that is our protection strategies with sea-turtles we often will put cages over Ness of seater legs because an easy thing that we can do to help increase sea turtles over ship. And so it's it's kind of the same idea there. We wanna make sure we know as much as possible about their life history. So that we can make the best decisions. We can. So I guess we want to do what we can to make sure that more adorable animal babies survived to become even cuter adults. So they can have another generation of even cuter animal babies. It's a circle of life. Circle of cuteness. So a huge part of making that happen is protecting animal habitat Jessica's able to do her research because group called back conservation international Fahd the land that the back. He was on in order to preserve it conservationists, the real life people and really anyone could grow up to be a real bad person. It's not just for superheroes. You know, five years ago. I never ever would have guessed that this is what I would have been doing. I guess it'd be right next to the largest group of of mammals in the whole world. And that's not a lot of people get to do that and get the privilege to study them. So I feel extremely fortunate that that I'm the kid gets to do this. If you were a bad person. What would you study draws a picture or send us a recording send it to tumble podcast at gmaiLcom or use the contact form on our website who he can't wait to hear your fat adventures? Thanks

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