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In Photos: Bats Spread Their Wings At 12th Florida Bat Festival

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Lubee Bat Conservancy, a 110-acre ranch in Gainesville that’s home to several bat species, opened its doors Saturday for the 12th annual Florida Bat Festival.

Visitors flooded the conservancy, moving from crafts and animal exhibits to games and the picnic area. The melody of live didgeridoos and the smell of empanadas and spring rolls filled the air.

Another attraction: bats eating flowers and pumpkin sculptures, and letting out their distinctive shrill sounds.

The main goal of this year’s Florida Bat Festival was education. The organizers prepared expert presentations to educate visitors about the significance of fruit bats and how they benefit environments and ecosystems.

Joshua Radcliffe, 8, poses Saturday in his vampire bat costume with Demetria McBride, an intern at the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Gainesville, during the conservancy's the 12th annual Florida Bat Festival. (Vedrana Damjanovic/WUFT News)
Joshua Radcliffe, 8, poses Saturday in his vampire bat costume with Demetria McBride, an intern at the Lubee Bat Conservancy in Gainesville, during the conservancy’s the 12th annual Florida Bat Festival.
Danne and Christy Farell, from Tampa, buy souvenirs Saturday at the festival's arts and crafts booth. “We love bats," Christy Farrell said. "It’s absolutely worth coming here." (Vedrana Damjanovic/WUFT News)
Danne and Christy Farell, from Tampa, buy souvenirs Saturday at the festival’s arts and crafts booth. “We love bats,” Christy Farrell said. “It’s absolutely worth coming here.”
Tracy Pope (left), a program coordinator at Lubee, sells bat toys, crafts and arts at Saturday's festival. (Vedrana Damjanovic/WUFT News)
Tracy Pope (left), a program coordinator at Lubee, sells bat toys, crafts and arts at Saturday’s festival.
Lindsey Dank plays a didgeridoo at the festival Saturday. Dank said he enjoys interacting with the children and teaching them how to play. (Vedrana Damjanovic/WUFT News)
Lindsey Dank plays a didgeridoo at the festival Saturday. Dank said he enjoys interacting with the children and teaching them how to play.
Ian Hahus, an agricultural engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Florida, holds a 6-foot-long grey rat snake named Hawkeye on Saturday while children look on and pet the snake. (Vedrana Damjanovic/WUFT News)
Ian Hahus, an agricultural engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Florida, holds a 6-foot-long grey rat snake named Hawkeye on Saturday while children look on and pet the snake.

About Vedrana Damjanovic

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