And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Kosher Samurai Award for the World’s Most Bad-Ass Bat.
And the award for the the toughest bat in the world goes to…
(Possibly the last thing a scorpion might see!)
And what feats of bad-assery makes this little flying mouse such a tough guy? Well, for one thing… it eats scorpions… live, moving, poisonous scorpions… that sting the bat in the face… while it eats them.. head first… stinger, poison glands and all… in flight!!
As the gang over at ScienceBlogs.com puts it, “snarling winged gremlins that take scorpion stings to the face and just don’t care!”
Yes, my little nerdlings, this five-inch long big-eared bruiser (found in desert areas of north-Africa from Morocco to Egypt, up through Israel, down to Saudi Arabia, throughout the Middle-East and east as far as Pakistan) has a well-earned reputation for brooking no backchat from its dinner. Flying a couple of metres above the ground, it will flit down for a few seconds to capture the scorpion, bite its head off (receiving several poisonous stings to the face in the process), then zoom up to consume the rest, often as an in-flight meal.
Carmi Korine of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel, and colleagues studied the bats as they ate various species of scorpion varying in degrees of poison toxicity.
As described in a NewScientist.com article, “They attacked different scorpion species equally, regardless of how venomous they were: they were just as happy with relatively harmless large-clawed scorpions as with moderately toxic common yellow scorpions. Both pale in comparison with the 10-centimetre Palestine yellow scorpion, which is popularly known as the death stalker because of its extremely toxic venom. The bats ate those just as willingly, stings or no.”
As noted in another study , “they drop right on to their scorpion prey and may be repeatedly stung on the body and face while subduing them: amazingly, this seems to have no effect and the bats display no evidence whatsoever of selecting scorpions based on their size or toxicity.”
Now that is one tough little bugger, and no mistake!______________________________________________________________
 Holderied M, Korine C, & Moritz T (2010). Hemprich’s long-eared bat (Otonycteris hemprichii) as a predator of scorpions: whispering echolocation, passive gleaning and prey selection. Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology PMID: 21086132