Bats captured on church camera reveal bizarre mating practices

Nov 21, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Bats captured on church camera reveal bizarre mating practices

Nov 21, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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'Bat porn' captured on church camera reveals bizarre mating practices

Church surveillance cameras in the Netherlands revealed some unusual bat mating behaviour. According to scientists, it is the first documented evidence of mammals mating without penetration.

The black and white video footage captured the serotine bats in a frenzied display. They were entwined and upside down against a metal grill. The video footage was sent to researchers, who then found further evidence to support the theory.

Serotine bats have puzzled scientists for a long time because of the huge size and shape differences between the male and female organs. Obviously not ideal for coupling, no matter what anyone tries to tell you.

Researchers previously speculated two possible options: a tie similar to dogs or a contact-based mating like that seen in birds.

After seeing the church video, a bat expert at the University of Lausanne, Dr Nicolas Fasel, expressed his astonishment, stating, “It was a surprise, but in the evidence we’ve gathered, it’s quite clear there is no penetration.”

Messages from a bat rehabilitation centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine, were added to the collection of videos. In the end, there are a total of 97 mating events—93 from the Dutch church and four from the rehabilitation centre. All of which confirm the theory.

Live bats were examined under anaesthetic, which confirmed the bats’ ‘epic proportions’. Female bats were also found to have ‘wet patches’ on their stomachs.

‘Bat porn’

The researchers now plan to swab females after mating and are in the process of building a “bat porn box” to capture mating couples from various angles. They’ll need some decent battery power for the cameras, however. The longest event so far recorded lasted almost 13 hours, according to the researchers.

The sexual behaviour of bats never ceases to amaze,” Prof Gareth Jones at the University of Bristol tells The Guardian. “Males urinating into wing sacs to attract females, males mating with torpid females, female relatives sharing sexual partners, fellatio, and now mating without intromission!”

Trail and surveillance cameras can often give us glimpses of animal behaviour that would normally be kept private. Sometimes to quite comical effect, such as this bear that appeared to be giving an exotic dance for the camera.

[via The Guardian]

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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