The Power of Bat Photos


Stellaluna was brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated by one of our first Bat Fans, Janell Cannon. It’s the story of a baby fruit bat who gets separated from its mother. Since publication in 1993 this book has been translated into 30 languages. Stellaluna is a classic that significantly helped to endear kids, big and small, to if not love bats, at least appreciate them better, much the same as Merlin’s photographs.


In fact, Janell credits Merlin’s 1986 National Geographic article “Gentle Flyers of the African Night,” about epauletted fruit bats, for inspiring Stellaluna.

Janell recently emailed Merlin to share one of her community presentations, explaining how much she appreciated free use of his website photos. We love, love, love this kind of feedback! It Illustrates one of the many ways our website photos are making a difference for bats. As Bat Fan numbers grow, we’re happy to see the wide variety of creative uses individuals and institutions are making of our website gallery. Please share with us how you’re using our photos in your corner of the world to make it better for bats and people.

Janell reading from her book Stellaluna to an audience of children and 50-60 adults.

Bat Fan Cynthia Myers recently posted a comment on Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation Facebook page about this very subject, how the same 1986 NatGeo article also inspired her to become a bat advocate. Cynthia commented, “I wonder how many attendees at the North American Society of Bat Researchers (NASBR) symposium 2016 Symposium held in San Antonio, Texas were also influenced by Merlin’s bat photography.” Indeed, Cynthia, we wonder too…

One of Merlin’s photos was used as the promo poster for the event held on October 15, 2016, titled, CELEBRATING BATS! From Fiction to Food, at the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center in Oceanside, CA.