Friday, June 04, 2021

Rescued Another Bat

      At least I got the poor creature back outdoors.  Early Wednesday morning, our neighbor texted me before I'd even had a chance to make coffee:

      There's another bat in my house.  Can you help get it out?

      I texted back that I needed a couple of minutes, then brushed my teeth, put some clothes on, grabbed my leather work gloves and selected a small cardboard box from our (copious!) stock.

      A little background: our neighbor likes cats a lot, and she's usually got at least a half-dozen, living in comfort in her spotless house.  A row of well-maintained litterboxes in her finished basement ensure the house lacks the usual aroma and a nice collection of toys keeps them entertained.

      If you're a bat, her house is Hell: her cats are convinced that a flying mouse that wants to hide is the best toy they have ever seen.  And yet her attic has been unusually attractive to bats; for years, she averaged one surprise bat every twelve months.  Last year, the bats apparently set up an aerodrome in her attic.  They were getting into her house almost weekly until she hired a humane bat-abatement expert, who sealed up every point of entry but one, where he installed an exit-only flap.  After several days, bats were no longer tempting the cats or scaring her, and had presumably found new homes.

      But now one was back.  When I arrived, she told me one of her cats had carried it up from the basement and set it down on the floor at her feet, whereupon it had scrambled to the nearest vertical surface, attained some height and launched itself to skitter about.  It had found the kitchen clock and scrambled behind it.

      "I'm pretty sure it's still there," she said.

      I set the small cardboard box down on the counter, open, and asked if she had a sturdy chair.

      She was ahead of me.  "I have stepladder right here."

      We set up the ladder and I gloved up and climbed up.  Lifting the clock from its hook revealed a small brown bat, huddled tightly into the hollow body of the clock, giving a strong impression of a creature who is hoping this is all a terrible dream.

      I tilted the clock so the bat was cradled in it like fruit in a bowl (they're pretty awkward and slow on a level surface) and stepped down to the floor..  With the clock over the box, I gave the outside a few taps.  Nope.  The bat wriggled like a small boy who doesn't want to get out of bed and wrapped a wing over its head.  It might as well have muttered, "I don't wanna!"

      Turning the clock all the way over and tapping it, right on top of the open end of the box, resulted in a reluctant departure; I moved the clock out of the way and closed up the box, trying to avoid leaving a bat-sized opening.  It might not have mattered.  The little bat was trying to crowd itself into a corner, obviously hoping the nightmare would end soon.

     After a short discussion, I carried the box to a small tree near the street in her front yard.  The bat was not at all interested in leaving the box -- opening the top, turning it over above a group of branches and shaking did nothing at all to convince it to decamp.  We ended up wedging the box between three branches, open and upside down, so the bat could leave in its own time.

      Bats are generally beneficial animals. They devour mosquitos, which is enough to make me like them in and of itself.  They're not very strong and most U. S.-native bats are small animals.  Indiana's bat population has been suffering badly from White-nose Syndrome, so every bat matters.  I like being able to help even a little.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agree with your bat-cessment.

Austin Texas was much more comfortable with all the bats and none of those mosquitoes.

Stay safe on ladders!

Ulises from CA