S1 Episode 27: Merlin Tuttle


Charles and Jon interview the original Batman,  Dr Merlin Tuttle, from his home in Austin, Texas. Merlin has spent 60 years studying – and working to help – bats around the world and his photos and research have been featured in multiple National Geographic articles, the journal Science, and many other places. He founded and led Bat Conservation International for nearly 30 years, left BCI, then founded Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation in 2014 where he remains active. He is a true legend.

In a fascinating chat we hear about his skill in training bats (and one bat’s particular skill in training Merlin), and how he believes the secret to conservation success is from trying to win friends not battles. He also remembers that time he risked being eaten by a pride of lions so he could photograph a bat with a Mohican haircut. 


 Merlin Tuttle’s website has a wealth of bat information. Of course it does! We loved looking through Merlin’s stunning collection of bat photographs and most of the species he mentioned can be found by searching in the MTBC Photo gallery. Here are pictures of the Chaerephon chapini in Zimbabwe, during the hunt for which he had to hide from Lions. Here is the little Hardwicke’s Wooly Bat which demanded to be fed in Borneo (and this is the video Merlin mentioned). And here is a scorpion-hunting Pallid Bat from the USA. Many other links are here, including one to join Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation (MTBC) or donate to support the very important work they do.

You might be interested in joining MTBC as a member to get updates, or joining Merlin in an upcoming bat research trip to Zambia’s beautiful Kasanka National Park this November: a few spots are still available https://www.merlintuttle.org/bats-of-kasanka-national-park-mtbc-2022/. Cover art: Merlin Tuttle calling a Little big-eared bat to his hand for mealworms.

Thank you Teresa Nichta at MTBC for all your support in preparing for and producing the podcast and video.