Bats usually fly back to the roost before dawn, so catching always involves getting up early—most recently 4 am on our last catching trip, but it can be even earlier depending on when sunrise is. Using our headlamps to guide us, we string the net across and raise it up, waiting for the bats to arrive. At the beginning, there aren’t too many bats around, but the pace picks up rapidly as the bats start to come back to the roost en masse. Everyone on the team (ideally, at least four of us) stares up at the sky, waiting for a bat to fly into the net. As soon as that happens, everyone turns on their headlamps and springs into action. The two people operating the net raise it down to around waist height. One handler, who has big gauntlets on, grabs the flying fox by the back of its neck so that it can’t bite anyone. This is harder than it seems, because often the neck is obstructed by netting. Once the head is secured, the other team members can go in and start untangling the bat’s claws and wings from the net. Flying foxes have very long, sharp claws, and can get tangled very quickly, so this step requires delicate fingerwork. Remarkably, most bats don’t squirm or make too much noise while this is going on. I’m not sure if they are just stunned by having big creatures point headlamps in their eyes, or understand that you are trying to untangle them, but it makes things easier. As pointy bits of the bat get freed, the handler tucks them under the big gloves so they can’t reach out and scratch anyone. Eventually, once the bat is completely free, the handler quickly releases it into a pillowcase held by another team member, which is subsequently tied closed and hung off a branch. Even a feisty bat will usually calm down at this point, as it can hang from the top of the bag in darkness and security.