A few weeks ago a strange bat wondered into the ranger station at the Nisqually Entrance and allowed himself to be "collected" by the ranger. The specimen eventually reached the Park Naturalist who has been puzzled ever since.
This bat is dark brown, has a wing spread of eight inches and a length of three inches. His ears are one and one fourth inches in length.
Four bats have been described from the Park, the Silver-haired bat, the Dark Yuma bat, the Northwest Long-legged bat, and the Large Brown bat. None of these have long ears. Apparently the speciman collected is a species of the Antrozous, the Big-eared Desert bat, which must have "blew in" from the plains east of the mountains.
The human race has developed some splendid athletes. Records have been set and broken until we wonder if the extreme limit of man's prowess and endurance will ever be reached. However, if the best all-round athletes were to be pitted against the champions among the lower animals in a great universal track and field meet, it is likely that the humans would carry away very few, if any, first prizes.
In running and swimming, either the short sprints or the marathons, he would have no chance at all. In flight, even with the best mechanical equipment, he could win on one point only, that of speed. Many birds could far outdistance him both in endurance and in skill. In the high dives he would have a chance of winning and in both the broad and high jumps he might be a runner-up. In the feats of strength he would not even qualify.
Man's record for the running broad jump, if we remember right, is around twenty five feet. A few animals perhaps could better this mark by a few feet. Several could equal it. Certain dogs and horses that have been trained to jump would be close competitors, no doubt. Some of the larger cats, the lion, the tiger, cougar and leopard, would press him close, if not surpass him, and some of the smaller animals, the jack rabbit and the kangaroo rat, would be close seconds.
In the high jumps, either standing or running, man would have no chance of winning but he might receive honorable mention. The record high-jump is something over six feet. Certain African natives are said to clear upwards of nine feet. A dog can do better and a well trained horse can do as well. A deer can easily beat the best Olympic record and several of the big cats could do the same. The only event that the human could be fairly certain of winning would be the cheering contest.
The real champion jumpers, however, are not the larger animals. It's the tiny athletes that put man to shame. A man can jump four times his length, a frog can jump twenty times his, and a grasshopper sixty times his. A flea can do better still.
A Pine Marten, built for climbing, can out-jump a cougar, built for jumping, and the cougar is a famous jumper. If the cougar could leap as far is proportion to his weight as the little Jumping Mouse of the Northwest, he could easily clear a mile at a bound. That's where looks are deceiving.
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