I hung around for a few minutes, to see what other "guests" thought of these "hosts". The patrons of the Imperial Zoo hail from all over the world, and speak many, many different languages. However, all humans (except apparently Austrians, all of whom did not flinch in the face of a Fledermausenhole) run in place waving their arms, and make precisely the same sound when the first realize that they are in a confined space with bats: wahooohahahahahaeeee! So, with that adrenaline rush, we headed for the Zoo exits and home. Of course, we got one more picture of a very large (non-winged) rodent .
"It says be very quiet," I offered to Caitie, who began to detect that something had gone amiss with the Rain Forest exhibit. Seems like a pretty typical warning in a zoo right? Sort of along the same lines as: please don't tap on the glass, or don't feed the gorillas. They post these sort of things to avoid liability suits, and to provide an excuse for ejecting unruly and obnoxious park-guests. To the right of the sign was a double layer door made from strips of hanging plastic, which resembled a car wash exit. The entrance looked harmless enough. Maybe there was more mist inside, that they were trying to hold back? Maybe there are cooler temperatures? Still, the sign was in very large red letters, and my German is far from fluent. So, Caitie and I decided to wait for a group of native speakers to go first. A gaggle of Austrians, stepped into the gap and took a long hard look at the sign. Said the mother Austrian: "BrillenBlattNasen?" "Sie sind sehr kleiner" replied the Father Austrian. In went the whole family. No noise, no problems. So Caitie and I decided to go ahead. As we pulled back the door covers, I heard a familiar sound -- a kind of flapping, swooshing sound. Then, right in our faces, that god awful black fluttering, flittering, f-ing horrible shape of leathery wings. Then, in an impressive stage whisper, Caitie alerted the entire zoo:The sign reads in full (and you have to say this in your head with the voice of the kid in Sixth Sense saying "I see dead people"):
THERE ARE BATS IN HERE!!!!!!And we dove backward out of the "Fledermausehohle" or in english "Bat Cave". At this point we took a nearby elevator, which allegedly lead to the nearest exit. The elevator doors opened on the open air level, where you can enjoy close views of the animals that live in the "canopy" of the rainforest. Guess what lives in jungle canopies? GIANT BATS . The elevator plants you eye to eye with the biggest flying rodents in creation. Caitie ran in every direction at once, and disappeared out the door. At this point I returned to photograph the sign, and took the time to look up some key words in the german-english dictionary.
ATTENTION NEW ANIMALS! PLEASE BE EXTREMELY QUIET!Here live Seba's Short-tail (flying mouse, or bat) and you are the guest not the host.