To the Bat Cave!

Rabies shots and guano-filled lungs were among the hardships filmmakers endured when making a documentary about an endangered bat.

February 10, 2015

"They had spent three grueling months zigzagging across Mexico, following the bats as they hopscotched from cave to cave on the thousand-mile journey from their roosts, in central and southern Mexico, to their birthing grounds, in the Sonoran Desert, near the Arizona border. There was the heat, filth, and humidity of the caves, which ravaged the cameras and the filmmakers both. There were the cockroaches. There were the bat bites and emergency rabies shots… There was [director Tom] Mustill’s brush with a coati, a relative of the raccoon, which bit his leg and which he likened to 'a testosterone-crazed badger.' And then there was the guano. Guano in their cameras, guano in their eyes, guano in their lungs, guano in their dreams. 'It was so humid that you couldn’t wear many clothes,' Mustill told me of their time in the caves. 'So you’re mostly exposed, and there’s just a constant rain of pee and sh-t from the ceiling.'"

—From “The Bat Man Cometh,” Tim Sohn’s New Yorker story about the making of The Bat Man of Mexico, a BBC documentary about biologist Rodrigo Medellín’s efforts to bring the lesser long-nosed bat back from the brink 

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