THE SECRET LIVES OF BATS:
My Adventures with the World’s Most Misunderstood Mammals
by: Dr. Merlin Tuttle
October 20, 2015
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
"The Secret Lives of Bats is a whirlwind adventure story and a top-shelf natural history page-turner. But perhaps most important, it tells the feel-good conservation success story of the century: how Merlin Tuttle changed the world's perception of bats from monsters to angels—by befriending people, then showing them the truth. Everyone who cares about animals must read this riveting book about a fearless, indestructible gentleman-adventurer and the beautiful, gentle bats he has studied, protected, and loved.”
—Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus and The Good Good Pig
"The Secret Lives of Bats dispels the bad reputation of bats, long lurking in our imagination as creepy, somewhat scary creatures—the bit players in horror movies and Gothic romance. Tuttle’s innovative photography, adventurous spirit, and compelling words and science reveal bats for what they are: intelligent, social, and fascinating mammals. In short, Tuttle's fifty years of research and conservation commitment has turned our aversion into awe."
—Kathy Moran, National Geographic
"Tuttle's recent attempts to photograph them in their natural habitat have led him through many hair-raising adventures, which he entertainingly chronicles. A page-turning memoir of curiosity about—and dedication to—a significant part of the natural world."
“The Secret Lives of Bats highlights the life-long journey of the man who arguably has done more for the conservation of bats than anyone else on the planet. Filled with personal and professional stories and peppered liberally with scientific insights about bats, this book is a must-read for a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the world’s most misunderstood mammals. ”
—John P. Hayes, Colorado State University
• TIMELY. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish THE SECRET LIVES OF BATS on October 20, which is National Bat Week and the week before Halloween, when awareness for bat conservation is highest. Ideal for Halloween coverage.
• LEADING BAT EXPERT. No one is more qualified to write this book than ecologist Dr. Merlin Tuttle, who has dedicated his life to setting the record straight on the good bats bring to the economy, environment, and population. He founded Bat Conservation International—the leading authority on bat protection—in 1982.
• STUNNING PHOTOS. Extraordinary photos that Tuttle has taken over the years of bat species from around the world are available for excerpt. Nothing stops Tuttle from getting his shot: inserts in the book show him roping into caves, crawling into hollow trees, and scaling cliff walls to get to the highly intelligent and elusive bats.
A lifetime of adventures with bats around the world reveals why these special and imperiled creatures should be protected rather than feared.
How do you feel about bats? Everyone has a bat story. Dr. Merlin Tuttle has thousands of them, and none involve him running away screaming or calling an exterminator. Tuttle, an ecologist and founder of Bat Conservation International, has spent his lifetime searching the globe for every bat species known to man, documenting his experiences through photography and writing (his work has appeared in Science, the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and National Geographic). THE SECRET LIVES OF BATS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, on-sale: Oct. 20, 2015) is the culmination of his lifetime’s worth of meticulous study.
The opening scene is of young Tuttle exploring a known bat cave with his dad. He stumbles upon thousands of them as they’re nesting, disrupting their sleep and causing them to fly all over him, inside his shirt and up his pant legs. Tuttle, who would one day be known as the “real life Batman”, wasn’t remotely afraid. “I soon realized that they meant no harm and were only seeking places to hide. In fact, they had more to fear than I did…they neither scratched nor bit me as they swarmed over me, and I had to hold quite still to avoid inadvertently crushing them.”
So begins Tuttle’s lifelong dedication to changing pre-conceived opinions about bats. Instead of fearing the vampire bat, for example, we should thank it for its saliva, which has aided in the development of modern medicines. Bats promote healthy crops and sustainable living for farmers by eating nighttime insects and reducing the need for pesticides. They are responsible for the pollination of over 500 plant species, including different types of mango, banana, cocoa, durian, guava, and agave (so no bats, no chocolate or tequila!). Bats are not by nature blood-thirsty attackers of the human race, but gentle, cuddly creatures, with off-the-charts intelligence. Bats are essential to the environment and to the economy.
Tuttle has encountered bats as cute as any panda and as strange as any dinosaur, from tiny bumblebee bats to flying foxes with six-foot wingspans. He shares harrowing details of moonshiner standoffs, close encounters with tigers, cobras, and poachers, and daring feats just to get close. He did it for love of bats and the thrill of scientific discovery, and it’s all in the book.
What’s not to love?