Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What's that? A bat!

If you have bats in your belfry, chances are they're little brown ones. "Little brown bat" is the common name for the species that's most likely to take up residence in church belfries, house attics, or barns. (And yes, there's also a species known as the "big brown bat.")

Of course, you're also likely to find bats in their stereotypical home: caves. And if you're the type of person who lurks about in caves, you should be aware of white-nose syndrome, which is killing bats in the eastern US and Canada. Officials are hoping to keep this threat from the western states, and request that eastern cavers decontaminate their equipment between spelunking trips--and that no equipment, shoes, or clothing used in states with affected caves be used in states with non-affected ones.

Photo by Dave Fletcher, who used a towel to grab
this bat, and released it out the window.
But what if the bat you encounter is not in a cave, but in your own house? This happens from time to time, especially with juvenile bats who are still finding their way in the world. The kindest thing to do is open the windows, turn off the lights, and close the door to the room if possible. The bat should be able to use echolocation, sight, or smell to find its way out.

When this method failed my sister Ann one night, she took more-direct action, capturing and releasing the bat the way some people remove spiders from their homes. She placed a clear plastic container over the invader, which was hanging on a wall, and slipped a piece of cardboard behind the animal, trapping it inside the box. She then threw the whole shebang out the window.

No doubt the little brown bat appreciated the extra effort.


  1. Remembering the night in the cabin when a bat flew indoors and my dad and three brothers spent an hour with salmon nets and brooms trying to catch it - quite without success. It did, finally, find the open door, and no bones were broken, though a few lamps were not so lucky. The menfolks were bruised and winded, and the bat missed an hour of bug-hunting, but the entertainment value was extreme!

    I can imagine adolescent male bats daring one another to "Fly into the house. Go ahead! Unless you're chicken? Are you afraid to fly into the house? Ooooo, bet your mommy told you not to fly into houses. You better be a good little bat and do what your mommy says. Chicken. Cluck, cluck, cluck!"

    And then, the bat in question gives the classic teen male response. "Oh yeah? Here, hold my beer and watch this!"

  2. Roxie, your post is a lot more fun than mine! :o)

  3. Yes! A bucket and newspaper over the top like a spider! I thought that was my idea!!

  4. I have a couple bat stories too, but Roxie's is more fun than mine, too.

  5. Roxie's comment is so hilarious I think I'll quietly fold up my one bat story and slink carefully into the night.

  6. Great story, Roxie! Like Alice, I will forgo telling my pathetic bat tale.