Let me introduce you to this adorable little chiropteran fella:

lbb2(You’ll wanna click it for the bigger picture)

Don’t fret. It’s sleeping, not dead. It may look like it’s flat on the ground, but its clinging vertically to a beam under an eave next to the Amargosa Opera House. Susan and I found two others nearby. Just hangin’. In perfect position for me to get my camera all up in its tiny little grill and snap some macros. Either it was a sound sleeper or I was pretty good in not disturbing it.

And I do mean tiny. Its body wasn’t more then two fingers wide and maybe as long as my index finger from tip to tail. A search on The Google for “bats of the southwest” eventually showed me that we’d gleefully encountered representatives of the species California myotis, sometimes called the California bat even though they can be found throughout western north America from southern Alaska down to Guatemala, and they are the most abundant bat in desert scrub habitats, which is what Death Valley Junction is.

And I do mean gleefully. Bats to me are one of the planets most amazing and fascinating animals, and the fact that for the first time in my life I was able to be this close to one was a dream come true.

Plus it was so damn cute I wanted to pull it off its perch and put it in my pocket. But I didn’t.

Later on, I’ll introduce you to the wild horses who came close to where we were camping to check out who us humans were encroaching on their watering hole.

UPDATE (12/01): Courtesy of Susan, here’s a look behind the scenes at how I got this post’s shot that puts things in proportion. The rest of her great photos are here on Flickr.