Happy Birthday Dracula!


Thanks to a tweet from the United States Geologic Survey (USGS), I found out today is the publication date of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. :::sigh, swoon::: Ok, not so much, really. I mean, the guy was pretty grotesque, hairy palms and all. But still, an amazing story that, to my knowledge, has never been out of print (correct me if I’m wrong).

Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker, 1906

So why, you may ask, was the USGS tweeting about Dracula? A fair question.  On behalf of the National Wildlife Health Center, they were calling attention to a fungus that is killing our bats. What does the USGS have to do with the NWHC?  Here’s a statement from their page:

The National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a science center of the Biological Resources Discipline of the United States Geological Survey. The NWHC was established in 1975 as a biomedical laboratory dedicated to assessing the impact of disease on wildlife and to identifying the role of various pathogens in contributing to wildlife losses.

This disease that is killing our dear little bats in various places around the country is a cold-loving fungus known as White-Nose Syndrome. They report that in just the last three years it is estimated that one million bats have died from this disease. This is bad. We need our bats. The disease seems to be largely in the Northeastern United States, and does not affect European bats. I don’t think it’s made it to Oregon yet, but it seems like prime real estate for this fungus. There are some bats living near me that I watch swooping and diving in my backyard in the early evenings during summer, eating all those vile mosquitoes. I always want to yell to them, ‘Dude! Bring your friends! All you can eat!’ Anway, poor widdle bats.

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16 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Dracula!

  1. First I would like to say thank you DD for the sandal tip. I bought one today. My foot does not feel to bad as yesterday. The swelling is down a bit and each step I don’t go ouch too much. Went to the doctor today for them to tell me they don’t accept walk in. I need to make an appointment. I should go to the clinic for emergency. I said the hell with it and came home to soak my foot in a cold bucket and now have it elevated.

    Okay, now back to this post. Fungus is a mother tucker isn’t it. I know there are good fungus and bad fungus but wow. Bats have been living in caves since century and none of this have taking place. I wonder if it is what we do to the planet having the effect on the bat to create such a fungus. Because the fungus “Geomyces destructans” derive from somewhere. It make me ponder what if hikers or cave explore would of touch it for the heck of it and wipe it on their face or rub their nose. What would the effect be. I know it is not Ebola but my mind wonder sometime on some crazy stuff.

    1. I forgot to add…I did not know bat ate mosquitoes. Too cool that you get the honor to see them many times. I seen one once when I was younger. I ran and scream inside the house holding my neck. I did not trust any of my friends that said outside that night in the night time. Thought they were going to get me, lol. I am being so serious.

  2. hahaha, yes, they are really helpful little critters. Farmers really need them to keep pests down, although they can be pesky, too. I was thinking of putting a bat house in my backyard, like a bird house. One of my sisters caught one INSIDE her house once. I was out on a boat one summer, at high noon in July, and a bat came flying slowly over us, really low, I could see it’s little face. Very odd for one to be out in the middle of the day like that, but it didn’t try to attack us.

    Hard to say what the effects of the fungus would be if someone touched it, but it could make a good sci-fi or horror story!

    Glad your foot is a little better. What a hassle about the doctor, though.

    1. Yes it could be. I can deal with it betters in movies than in reality. Oh your poor sister I can see her screaming or looking for a broom to get the bat out if she is a scary cat like me. Or perhaps she is calm like my mother when my little brother pet snake was loose in the house!

      A bat house sound interesting but you need a very good bate.

  3. Actually she rescued it from her cats which were attempting to have their way with it. It was a baby bat, and she thought it was cute. She managed to capture it with a box and got it outside. :)

      1. Your sister much nicer – and braver- than I am. I found a little bat in our house once (we’d have a new roof put in, and I think it sneaked in when the roofers weren’t looking) and I almost shit a pickle. It was lying on the floor in my room and at first I thought I’d tracked in a wet leaf, but when I leaned down to touch it, it felt FURRY (OMG the hair on my arms is standing up as I write this!) I ran downstairs, too disturbed to even scream, and cowered behind a couch cushion while Fang went to collect it – it turned out that the poor thing was still alive, just barely. My husband scooped it up and took it to the park down the streeet to release it, but he said it didn’t seem long for this world. I know they kill bad bugs and stuff, but I couldn’t have been nore freaked out if I’d found Vlad himself lying around underfoot. Brrr!

  4. Awww, the poor little thing! They are quite furry. (I stand corrected, they are not rodents. I just checked) They do like to nest in houses, so it’s not really unusual to find them like that. Unfortunately, they can carry bed bugs, lice, and other things so the less contact with them, the better. They do eat all kinds of insects so they are very good to have around.

  5. Happy birthday, Dracula! :)

    If Dracula himself wasn’t so good looking, except in certain movie versions, his popular culture “sons” definitely are.

    I think it’s funny that Stoker was inspired by Lord Byron with the Dracula character. :)

    We need to keep our bats, they are important animals. We have them here too. Always see them at summer nights, catching insects.

    It’s strange people are scared of bats or of getting them in the hair. They have such incredibly control of their flying, I can’t imagine any of them actually getting into someone’s hair.

  6. Heh, true, Dracula’s step-children certainly became more attractive as time went on ;)

    It’s a fascinating story about Stoker’s influences for the various characters. I did another post about that awhile back (I’d have to dig to find it, it was awhile ago).

    I wonder how that fear of bats getting tangled in hair came about? Did it happen to someone once, and then became urban folklore?

    1. That fear is probably just urban legend and irrational fear, like the fear that mice will run up your legs. I imagine bats avoid hair and mice avoid legs, because getting tangled into another animal like that will kill them. :)

      Curious to see Stoker’s influence of the different characters. :)

      1. “My” bat didn’t go anywhere near my hair, but it scared the breath outta me, just the same!

      2. Hahaha :) Isn’t it funny how such small creatures instill such fear in us? I remember finding a tiny mouse in my front yard one day when I was out weeding my roses. My neighbor from the across the street, a 70-something man, was over talking with me while I worked (oh he LOVED to talk!!) and I stopped what I was doing and picked the little critter up by its tail. You never saw a grown man jump back so fast! As a child I kept pet gerbils, so this was nothing to me, but poor old John about had a stroke.

  7. Maybe they should make this day Dracula Bat Awareness day and of the positive effect of bats on the ecosystem…. of course they will say I am crazy but who cares!
    Thanks for the info , I would not have known its the publication date today!

  8. Hi leonargo,

    Thanks for coming by, nice to meet you. I certainly never expected the USGS to be my source of literary trivia ;) That’s a good idea for a tie-in for bat awareness, though, especially these days with the vampire craze in full swing.

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