The Rose Files
True Scary Stories from Life
                                            The Bat Jungle!

                                             
~ Rose Titus ~


      In the beautiful Central American country Costa Rica, there is the wonderful and wild region known as
Monteverde, and in this beautiful mountainous land, there is the Bat Jungle!  And so if you happen to be
passing through the area of Monteverde, you can actually go and visit this Bat Jungle.

      The Bat Jungle is not a jungle – basically, it is a
museum dedicated to bats.  For up the mountain, and
through the forest, there is a small strip mall (yes, a
strip mall, in the middle of the forest – there is a strip
mall!) with a candy store, a coffee shop, and a bat
museum (no, really, there is!).  And I was passing
through the area, so I had an opportunity to visit this
“bat jungle”.

      The Bat Jungle was created by Richard LaVal, who
is originally form Missouri, and he is one of many Ameri-
cans who have relocated to Costa Rica.  He always
enjoyed wildlife and nature, and also he had a love of
exploring dark caves, which in turn led him to his
interest in bats.  While in college, he went on to study under a professor who researched bats in Latin
America.  After that time, LaVal went on to study in Costa Rica with the Organization for Tropical Studies.  
After earning his PhD in Wildlife Science, he was offered a job doing research in Costa Rica.  There, he
studied bats in Monteverde, where he met his wife.  Together, the loving couple studied bats!

      Around the year 2000, they planned to build a
mini-mall for tourists in the Monteverde area.  But
LaVal just had to have his bat exhibit at the mall!  
Thus, they created the Bat Jungle!

      I was able to visit this Bat Jungle while on a tour
of Costa Rica.  Our guide through the Bat Jungle was
a guy named Vino.  He stood before our group and
announced, “Now, we will get rid of superstition!”  
Vino proceeded to give our group all sorts of informa-
tion on bats:  Bats pollinate many crops and destroy
vast numbers of insect pests.  No machine built by
man is as powerful and sophisticated as a bat’s
radar.  The odd structures on bats’ ears and noses
are like antennae, he said, for their echolocation.  Bats are not just rats with wings, instead they are related
to lemurs.  (So, then if bats are related to lemurs, then… flying monkeys do exist!)

      The skulls of various bats are on display in the museum, along
with a bat skeleton to show its similarities with a human skeleton.

      After listening to Vino, we were free to walk through the dark tun-
nel of the Bat Jungle, where you can watch bats in an artificial night
darkened garden, as they flew around, hung in clusters from trees,
nursed their young, ate pieces of fruit, or just did bat stuff in general.  
In fact, the bats even seemed to be playful as they darted around their
dark enclosure.

      We could not use cameras with flash, as it might disturb the bats,
so sadly I have no good pictures of the bats, as I only have an old
digital camera rather than a smart phone.  But you can look up the Bat
Jungle and see pictures of the bats, or you can get on a jet plane and
go down to Costa Rica, and then get on a bus and go up the mountain
and visit for yourself.

      Don’t forget to visit the gift shop for an assortment of bat-related
items!

      Monteverde itself is a vast and wild area filled with vast forests and all sorts of wildlife.  Besides bats,
there are agoutis, coatis, exotic birds, and other wild animals that most people will never get to see.

      Nearby the Bat Jungle, there is also a butterfly garden, which you can also visit.

      But if you visit the Bat Museum, and realize that bats aren’t that terrifying after all, and if you really do
still long for something truly scary, then all you have to do is stay in the awful gross place where I stayed.  
Guess what?  You won’t be able to sleep because if you stay in the same filthy infested dump where I
stayed, your room will be invaded by monstrous giant insects that are bigger than the tour bus, and which
crawl up the walls and loudly shriek – yes, shriek! – at one o’clock in the morning, and you will not sleep
because you just know that those damn horrible things are going to land on your face and eat your nose!  
How I ever survived that awful dump of a hotel I will never know… !