Bhopal: Bats belly-dip in Upper Lake to beat the heat and survive

With mercury surging to record levels this month, Bhopal residents are experiencing a unique experience that of hundreds of big bats dropping dead from trees.
Updated on May 21, 2015 04:00 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | By, Bhopal

With mercury surging to record levels this month, Bhopal residents are experiencing a unique experience that of hundreds of big bats dropping dead from trees.

But the 32 sq km expanse of the Upper Lake in the city is giving these bats a chance to beat the heat and survive, experts say.

Thousands of these bats-- known as Indian flying fox or fruit bat-- are seen rushing to the lake to belly-dip in the water to cool their heat exhausted bodies.

HT has captured the unique occurrence on camera as residents flocked to the lake to witness the spectacle.

Unlike the insect-eating bat species, these large Indian flying foxes do not roost in caves, tree-hollows and old buildings.

They roost in large colonies on the exposed branches of big trees during the day and forage at night for ripe fruits and blooming flowers.

Their exposure to the sun makes them susceptible to heat-stress during peak summer, says Ornithologist Sangeeta Rajgir.

When temperatures cross 43 to 45 degrees Celsius and there is a heat wave, the fruit bats fail to regulate their body heat and as a result a large number of them die, she said.

“The Upper Lake, which is one of the largest man-made lakes in India, is proving to be a lifeline for the bats,” Rajgir, who runs Bhopal Birds, an NGO, told Hindustan Times.

Bats are warm blooded flying mammal, which like humans, face problems when the temperatures rise beyond 45 degrees Celsius and there is a heat wave.

“The bats become victims of heat strokes, which prove fatal for many of them, especially in case these bats that roost on exposed branches and not in caves. Due to the heat wave, they suffer hyperthermia and dehydration, which results in their death, ” she said.

“In Bhopal, these fruit bats roost during day time on the big trees in the Kamla Park area near the Upper lake and in Kerwa area on the outskirts the city,” she added.

On why the bats belly-dip in the Upper Lake, Rajgir said it was one of the animal’s mechanisms to cope up with the heat.

“When heat wave sweeps the trees, they generally start cooling their bodies by continuous fanning of their large wings. The bat belly-dip in the water to cool and rehydrate itself from the scorching heat, ” she said.

According to experts, the Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) is listed under Schedule V of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and is found across the Indian subcontinent.

Its daytime roost sites are generally permanent, from which they have been known to fly as far as 100 to 150 km in search of fruits during nighttime.


    He is principal correspondent based at Bhopal. He covers environment and wildlife, state administration, BJP and other saffron organisations. He has special interest in social issues based stories.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • The woman’s parents had posted her wedding invitation on social media and also sent soft copies of the invitation to their relatives through WhatsApp on June 10 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Man arrested for hacking woman’s Instagram account in a bid to defame her

    Mumbai A man from Uttar Pradesh has been arrested for allegedly hacking a city woman's Instagram account days before her wedding and announcing that she was going to run away before the wedding. The woman, a resident of Goregaon east, was engaged in May and got married last month. The police officers then learnt that the number from which the woman's Instagram page was hacked was being used in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The company said on its website that it was engaged in the making and marketing pharmaceutical products and APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) and has 17 manufacturing units across the country.  (Representational image)

    I-T raids Dolo-650 manufacturer Micro Lab's office in Bengaluru

    The Income Tax department Wednesday conducted searches at the premises of Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical company Micro Labs Ltd, the manufacturers of Dolo-650 tablet that was widely used by Covid-19 patients during the last over two years, on charges of alleged tax evasion. Officials said the department is looking at financial documents, balance sheets and business distributor networks of the company as part of the searches.

  • Trinaool Congress MP Mahua Moitra courted a controversy after she made a statement that Kaali is a ‘meat eating and alcohol accepting Goddess’ to her. (File Photo)

    Offerings to Kaali vary from place to place, say priests after Moitra’s remarks

    A day after the Trinamool Congress condemned its Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra's statement that Kaali is a “meat eating and alcohol accepting Goddess” to her and the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded her arrest on charges of hurting Hindu religious sentiments, many priests and believers on Wednesday echoed Moitra's line and said that offerings to Kaali do vary from place to place.

  • The Jalandhar City police have recovered 536 Indian passports, <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>49,000 cash, a laptop, and three computers from the possession of the four suspects, identified as Nitin, Amit Sharma, Sahil Ghai, and Tajinder Singh. (HT Photo)

    Illegal immigration racket busted in Jalandhar, 536 passports seized

    The Jalandhar police on Wednesday claimed to have busted an illegal immigration racket with the arrest of four men, who are facing around 120 criminal cases and were running five unauthorised consultancies in the city to dupe people on the pretext of sending them abroad. Police have also recovered 536 Indian passports, ₹49,000 cash, a laptop, and three computers from the possession of the suspects, identified as Nitin, Amit Sharma, Sahil Ghai, and Tajinder Singh.

  • The language felt cold, even brutal. I was to be relieved from the services of the company after attaining the age of superannuation, the circular said. It seemed like a double whammy, a combination of a pink slip for age-related reasons. (Representative image)

    Spice of Life | Rest assured, retirement is an opportunity, not a calamity

    After 39 years of service, I was to retire. The language felt cold, even brutal. The speeches at the felicitation had begun in right earnest. I abruptly realised it was my departure that the speaker was referring to. I would stop being important at home as well. An increase in life expectancy has changed the concept of retirement, now half your work life is still left, leaving you a time management problem.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 06, 2022