22________ Thursday. November 4. 1999. The Daily News Opinion
Let's talk about real bats,
not the 'Big Screen' type
Olasee thDis, an ecologYi. is a
ntrnibatlng columnist to The Doily
Rary the St Croix Environmential
Association ccived a gift of 1/3 acre
of land with a late 1800s water mill
on the property at Estate Strawberry
Hill from Nestor Corna. His father
Alejandro brought estptes
Strawbery. Baemn Spot, Cottage and
other estates surrounding the area in
the early 1900s.
Before Alejandro purchand Estate
Strawberry. Nicholas Tutein a
transplanted planter from Montserma
and one of the principle developers of
St. Cmix as a sugar producer pur-
chased the land in 1754. This proper-
ty is located in the midst of St.
Cmix's fertile south-central plain.
As St. Cmix's economy changed
[rum an agricultural society in the
middle 1960s to light industries,
estates like Strawberry and Barren
Spot were phased out of sugar pro-
duction. The hot blow to the sugar
industry on St Crix was when the
Bethlehem sugar factory closed in
1 hus. land like Estate Strawberry
was turned into pastureland. As time
went on. Alejandro sold some of his
land. Estate Cottage was sold to Hess.
By the late 197Nh and early 19W80..
State Strawberry. Barren Spot arnd
other surrounding estates were sold
and developed into housing commu-
nitics. In the 1990s. Estate Strawberry
Hill was subdivided into plots for
housing development. From a boy.
Nestor Corrr knew the water mill at
Estate Strawr"ey Hill.
As agnculturc phased out of Estate
Strawberry Hill, bats inhabited the
The third but is the cave hat. This is
the bat that lives in the water mill at
Estate Strawberry Hill. At night, they
SOlase fly up in a circle unfil they enter the
avis top of the water mill. They are very
easy to identify by their noses, similar
to pigs. These bats prefer roosting in
caves, old stone ruins, or cnry wells.
Cave bats feed on fruits supplement
ed by pollen and nectar from night
water mill on the estate. Cora knew blooming flowers like certain species
of the bats and often visited them. cacti. Perhaps many of or
With Bruce Wilson being a nar blooming flow are pollinated by
lover, somehow he negotiated with bats without you knowing it.
Conca and got the 1/3acre of land as Ihe fourth bat is the roof bat. AS
a gift for the environmental associa- the sun sets. the fist bat to emerge
tion. Tle gift ofland was entmsled to early in the evening is the roof bat
SEA forthe purpose ofprotecting and The roof bats can be identified by the
educaling the surrounding neighbors fact that they are the smallest of the
andthegeneral public atlageon bats b species on S Croix. These bots
ecology. are frequently observed as they flutter
St. Crix has four difflrenttypesof around outside lights at night, catch-
tats. They tm i fish. fouit cave f ing small flying insects which is their
roof hats. The fislahran bat lives in major diet. They can hbe found in old
colonies of about 50 in large. hollow houses, making their presence known
trees or sea caves. Fisherman bats fly by twitterng sound both by day and
low for long distances over open g .
water Ilicir faces are like a bulldog If they live in your at. ninth balls
with a stripe down their backs with or moth flakes can be used temporar-
long hind feet. They use their hind isy to drive them out of their roost
ftet to snatch fish fiom ponds and the Ilowever. a permanent solution can
sea. These bats, however, are quite only be accomplished by sopping all
rare on the island. entrance and exit holes in your roof.
The second most common bat on The roof bat is vey small and can
St. Croix is the fruit bat. They can be easily enter through any crack more
identified by their large size and rein. than 38 ofan inch wide.
lively slow direct flighl. Ifyou exam. Overall, hbas are unique, They are
me one closely, you will discover a the only mammals that exhiil Irue
spear-shaped structure on the end of sustained flight. They also have the
their nose and a fice stripe leading abilitytodroptheir bodytemperature
from the mouth to the ears. This bat is when at rest. This conserves the meta-
responsible for depredations on fruit bolic energy of their bodies.
crop like mango and papaya. Certain Thanks to Nestor Corera and SEA.
fruit trces in tropical countries depend Estate Srawberry Hill bits are pro-
on hats in order to reproduce. tected.