“These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give [them] their meat in due season. [That] thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.”
The surface of the Earth 50 to 150 feet below the great living canopy of the rainforest is a dark, humid, still world dominated by great columns of tree trunks. Within those trunks and some of the giant hollow branches extending from them lie the secret of the life of the canopy itself.
A rainforest typically receives 12 or more feet of rain per year. That much rain washes out of the soil most of the nitrates needed by the trees for growth. What the trees need is a rich source of nitrates that is constantly being replaced. And that’s where the bats come in.
Typically, these huge trees are hollow inside. Many different kinds of creatures, including fruit bats, enter the hollow trees through various openings. Fruit bats find ideal daytime sleeping rooms inside the great hollow branches that extend like caverns from the hollow tree trunk. The accumulating layer of bat guano inside the tree itself is one of the richest sources of nitrates known. So the bats provide the tree with the nitrates it needs in exchange for a protected home during the day!
In a very real sense, the fruit bats are the collection and transport system for the raw materials that make possible the tropical rainforest canopy with its millions of residents. The Creator has devised an ingenious way to provide for the needs of many creatures. Truly, the Lord does provide all living things with their food in just the way they need it!
Lord, I pray that You would fill me with as much love for the creatures of Your wonderful creation as You have. And just as the entire rainforest must look to the fruit of the bat for life, help me always to look to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for all life. Amen.
Perry, Donald. “Life in the treetops.” 1978. Science Digest, Oct. p. 26. Photo: Livingstone’s fruit bat.