Pterosaurs that eat Bats

In Papua New Guinea, the ropen is said to eat fish or giant clams or dead human bodies, or even living humans, at least once in a while on the mainland, between Lae and Finschhafen, in Morobe Province. But in some parts of the world pterosaurs, very much non-extinct, are said to eat bats.

Live Pterodactyl site:

Whether with greater speed, or with greater team work, or with greater intelligence, predators must use an advantage. And whatever elevates the predator above the prey will also make it appear different, to some degree. Of course a careless glance may not reveal any difference between a shark and the fish it eats. Falcons and sparrows are small birds; ant lions and ants are small insects . . . nevertheless, many differences are subtle, allowing predators to run or swim or fly alongside prey . . .

To a biologist, bats and pterosaurs have only limited similarity, most obviously featherless-flying. But if they lived together, flying at night, could there be a predator-prey relationship? Yes.

Do Ropens, Extant Pterosaurs, Eat Bats?

In the summer of 2007, I learned that [some cryptozoologists] had found a new area to search for the cryptid we call “ropen” (I assumed it was still in Papua New Guinea). When I learned that they had seen many bats and apparent ropens flying, at night, over the same valley, at the same time, and that the sightings were throughout the year, it became obvious: The ropens must be catching bats. How could ropens be spending so much time flashing their ropen bioluminescent flashes throughout the year if they were not catching food? And what food could they be catching in the sky at night that would satisfy the hunger of a large pterosaur? Not insects.

Bat Eating Giant Bat

“One of the flashes took off from a big tree overhanging the river and made a kind of flashing coma turn. Many flashes were parallel to the river. . . . there were many fish . . . Prime hunting grounds for fish-eating birds. Only these things fish at night with bioluminescence . . .”

“This creature was huge . . . In the distance I perceived an object in the sky. At this point it was rather indistinct and wondering what it might be I watched it as it approached. . . . Within a minute or so it had reached our position and was about 250 or 300 feet above us . . . It did not  appear to be covered with feathers but had a leathery texture. Soon after it passed us it flew over a more brightly lit sports area  which  highlighted even  more the  leathery appearance . . .”

Searching for Dragons

No, not the fiction story by Patricia Wrene, this book will be nonfiction, by Jonathan Whitcomb the cryptozoologist, when it is published, which is said to be around early 2012. Searching for Dragons will be the third edition of Searching for Ropens; it will be devoid of “preaching religion,” however, in the new version. There were some complaints, on Amazon.com, from readers who were offended at the religious parts being mixed in thoroughly into the cryptozoology, in the earlier editions.

Since quotations from Searching for Dragons are becoming common online, I will add this:

Acknowledgements

The financial generosity of Alex Aguila, one of the first readers of the first edition of Searching for Ropens, made possible the 2006 expedition of Paul Nation and Jacob Kepas, whose exploring of a remote area verified the location, the precise cliff, where many indavas, giant flying creatures, sleep in daylight during parts of the year. And how could those two men have reached Tawa Village, deep in the interior of the mainland of Papua New Guinea, without Jim Blume, who flew the plane that took them there?

Of course, this is not the final version, so it could be different in the published book.

New Zealand Pterosaur

When we think about a frightening featherless flying creature in New Zealand, we might think of the upcoming movie The Hobbit. After all, a critical character in that film will be Smaug the dragon, and shooting is taking place in New Zealand. But it seems a nonfiction character lives in New Zealand, although it may not have yet been filmed or photographed: the Flying Slasher.

Living Pterosaur in New Zealand

Across New Zealand, North Islands farmland and countryside, there have been for almost a century tales from farmers and hunters, of a horrid winged beast, with long sharp fangs lining its narrow, beak-like jaws. Its eyes gleam in the night, where it can be seen flying overhead, silhouetted in the moon. Farmers despise it because it tears chunks from their cattle in the nighttime. It is called “The Flying Slasher.”

With all the reports of giant flying pterosaurs (AKA “pterodactyls”) in the Western Pacific, especially around Papua New Guinea and Australia, it seems not so surprising that similar flying creatures are reported in New Zealand.

Flying Dragons in Australia

Few Australians call it a “dragon,” when they see a giant flying creature, or a large one, with no sign of feathers but with a long tail. I know of one American who declared seeing a dragon in Australia decades ago. But that word is unpopular with Australians who consider reporting their encounters, for they usually prefer “pterodactyl” or “pterosaur.”

Over the past few years, sightings of pterosaurs flying, or something like that, have been reported by Australians, and those sightings have been in diverse areas, mostly coastal, especially in the west, south, and east. You would think they would be mostly on the north coast, being closer to Papua New Guinea and the ropen habitat, but there it is.

Pterosaur Sightings in Australia

Excerpts from an email to the American cryptopterosaurist Jonathan Whitcomb:

After many misgivings about going “public” as it were, I have decided to contact you with my experience of sighting what I believe to have been a Pterodactyl.

I live in Australia in the state of Victoria near the Dandenong Ranges about 25 klms east of Melbourne.

I was standing outside about nine o’clock one night. It was full moon and very bright with a cloud bank to the south east extending to and over the Ranges. Mt. Dandenong is about 2000 feet high and the clouds were much higher than this.

I glanced to the south and [saw] . . . something flying that appeared to be at the height of light planes that fly around here as Moorabbin Airport is not far away. This thing was at least as large as a light plane, say a Cesna.  It was about 5 klms away and was lazily flapping it’s wings . . . It appeared to be lit up by the moonlight and shining as if it had no feathers. . . . I could see it quite clearly.

Giant Pterodactyls in Australia

“In the early 1990s I was living in . . . South Australia . . . drove from Perth out to Western Australia . . . wanted to . . . see the outback. . . . stopped at about 6PM, ate, set up the tent, and . . . I was up still and wanted to see the sun go down . . . [something] looked like an airplane, far away. . . . maybe a couple hundred feet [high]. . . . it got nearer to me, I noticed that the wings were actually flapping gently. . . . color was a dark tan. . . . no sound. It was getting closer . . . [I thought] maybe this is some kind of weird outback bird . . . had a wingspan [of about] 15 or 20 feet. It got close . . . leathery . . . no feathers at all.”

Giant Pterosaur Between Australia and Indonesia

They were mostly done with flying from Australia to Indonesia . . . at 6500 feet altitude and over the sea, when the pilot saw something coming straight at him, on a collision course. He thought it must have been another plane, somehow at the wrong altitude for that heading. He put his plane into a dive, catching the attention of the copilot, who had been looking down at a chart or something. The approaching flyer also dived, so the pilot banked to the left, saving them all from disaster.

The two men saw it flap its wings; obviously it was no plane.

Are Dragons Pterosaurs?

Are all fictional stories based upon people or animals that never existed? Let’s be careful not to rush to conclusions about dragons, for fantasies, though fictional, are often based upon some truth. The story of Little Red Riding Hood is fictional, but grandmothers and wolves are both real.