It was my first sighting of a Painted Bat in Kodagu, my native place, and what a wonderful experience it was! I noticed a colourful, butterfly-like creature from a distance, and only when I approached closer did I realise that it is a tiny bat. In disbelief and awe, I started capturing photos and videos from my phone.
After a while, it landed on a dry banana leaf. Unfortunately, work was afoot in getting the entire banana plantation plot cleared, which disturbed the bat from settling down in one place, giving me only brief opportunities to take images. Luckily, the bat soon came to rest within a banana leaf, which I was able to carry and leave in an adjoining banana plantation such that it rests undisturbed. It was truly a short but everlasting experience with this wonderful being.
The Painted Bat (Kervioula picta) is among the few species of bats in the world that have a striking colouration. One would think that the bright orange and black colouration of this insectivorous bat would make it easy to spot. However, on the contrary, it is thought that the colouration aids in camouflage as the bat roosts among dry leaves and such situations. Its small size does not make it easy to spot either. Like most other bats, the Painted Bat too emerges late in the evening and remains active as it gets dark and hawks for insects using echolocation. Though it is widespread throughout much of Southeast Asia, it is not often encountered. It is rarely met with across its distribution range in peninsular India, making this sighting and the photographic record one of significance.