Photo by Jonas Hjortdal
If Batman were real, we would be the first ones to recommend that he settles down in Berlin. No less than 17 different species of bats – out of the total 24 in Germany – would assure he would feel right at home. With so many bats, it’s no surprise that there are so many organizations either trying to profit from or trying to rescue the tiny bloodsuckers. Berlin Artenschutz Team (BAT) fits both descriptions.
In the Fledermauskeller, their basement headquarters in Zitadelle Spandau, visitors can view 130 bats, which flap around behind a Plexiglass wall. None of the three species in residence are native to Germany (they come from Africa and Latin America), because the indigenous varieties are protected by German law.
But local bats are an important part of the BAT operation; they treat some 150 injured bats per year, often for injuries caused by close encounters with seemingly friendly cats. Another source of danger for the flying rodents: gentrification. For some of the bats, the commie Plattenbau and it’s non-existent insulation was the perfect hibernation hideout, and with all the recent tearing down, a lot of habitats have disappeared.
Whether the condo carnage affects the heartbeats of the bats is doubtful, but with 500-1000 beats per minute, it easily surpasses that of the most drug-driven Berlin heart. With that kind of intensity, it’s no wonder that the 10,000 bats hibernating within the humid air and thick walls of the Zitadelle need their winter sleep.
And since the BAT headquarters is open to the public daily from noon to 5pm there is no good reason why you shouldn’t go check out the sharp-toothed night flyers yourself.
FLEDERMAUSKELLER | Haus 4, Zitadelle Spandau, U-Bhf Zitadelle, Tel 030 3675 0061, Daily 12-17:00, www.bat-ev.de