When a young man prepares himself to meet his young lady, he slaps on a little cologne, hoping to please her. It turns out that the males of at least some species of bats do the same thing. Researchers have recently discovered how a small North American tropical bat prepares to attract and keep his harem of up to eight females. In late afternoon the bat begins a ritual that takes more than half an hour to complete. The bat starts by licking scent sacs in its wings. Then it gathers secretions, including urine, from various parts of its body, depositing each secretion on its wing sacs. Despite what you might imagine, the resulting odor is sweet and spicy.
Once he is finished primping, the bat goes to his harem and hovers above them like a hummingbird. The bat can hover for up to 15 seconds. As he hovers, he flaps his wings hard enough to disturb nearby leaves, and he chirps at each female. At the same time, his frantic flapping distributes his special scent. The females respond to the scent by chirping back at him. Males will also spread their scent around, hoping to attract more females to their harems. Researchers think this behavior is more than just ritual. They point out that the complex mix of scents in urine can indicate whether a creature is in good health. For example, female mice will not respond to males whose urine indicates that they are ill.
Many creatures communicate through scent. Scripture even speaks of our prayers as rising to God as sweet-smelling incense. But only the cleansing blood of Christ can sweeten us before God.