Sunday, 28 July 2013

Bizarre battle between Bat and Burdock - Burdock wins.

I came across this odd spectacle while out walking today of a dead pipistrelle bat held fast amongst the clasps of a Burdock plant. I imagine that the bat had been hunting around the Burdock plant, which is a great nectar source loved by many insects, for small moths feeding on the purple coloured flowers, when it became entrapped amongst the hooked clasps of the forming seed heads.
I’m sure that most of you are familiar with the burrs that easily attach themselves to your clothes as you brush by, and sometimes completely cover long haired dogs resulting in time consuming grooming to remove them all! However, when the burrs have only just finished flowering, as in this case, they are still firmly attached to the main plant, so that the struggling bat would not have been able to pull free from the hooked clasps, but instead would have become more and more entangled in the plant.
 It is ironic that a plant which relies on animals (and us!) to spread its seeds around the countryside, lands up actually killing a small mammal, just because it was not powerful enough to break free from the “trap” designed only to hitch a lift, not to kill.

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