Monday, January 24, 2011

Bats Are In More Than The Belfry

I was awakened by a Pbrrrr sound. In my sleepy state, with my eyes closed, I thought it was the sound of my cat’s little feet running about. Pbrrrr. No, it’s over my head. Pbrrrr. A mouse in the wall? It would have to be a big one. Pbrrrr. It keeps running over my head; I can feel a breeze when it does? I open my eyes. Pbrrrr. A bat cruises by; inches from my face. Ahhhh!

Bats are in more than the belfry, apparently. Through my facebook friends I discovered that many people have had bat encounters. With mine, I hide under my covers and called to my cat for help. Apparently Zsu Zsu is union and her contract didn't include any "clause" for bats.
After I got out of my bed, put my black Guinness ball cap on, which strangely did make me feel a little more comfortable, I grabbed my green sweater and looked about. Then I traded my sweater for my red Resident Evil crew jacket and headed downstairs.
At the bottom of the stairs, as I made the final turn, I reached out and opened the door. Then I saw a piece of brown fluff on the brown carpet. I jumped through the doorway to get away from it. I let out a sigh and felt rather silly for being frightened by a piece of brown fluff; then the fluff took flight.
My trusty dog, Oreo, came to my side; he didn't seem to know what to do, either.
The bat came at me.
I swung my coat.
The bat circled around again.
Oreo was getting excited: his little white mitten paws were dancing.
I swung again.
Then the bat was gone.
"Did I get him?" I said, to Oreo. "Did you get him? Did one of us get him?”
I looked down beside the bookcase.
The bat was lying there; unhurt but stunned, its wings spread out.
Both Oreo and I starred at him (or her).
I still couldn't believe it was a bat.
Oreo didn't know what it was and took a couple steps back and then looked up at me.
I went into the cool room and got a Tupperware container. I dropped it over the bat. I then slipped paper underneath, gently lifted the bat and flipped the container over. He clung to the side with his feet and hung upside down inside the container. I put the lid on.
Then I informed facebook, of course.
At 8:30 am I called the Loyalist Human Society ( The women there told me to call Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre ( ).
I knew about Sandy Pines from an incident between Oreo and a baby bunny. The bunny was rescued; nursed by Sandy Pines, while I found its nest. I brought the bunny back and returned it to its mother, brothers and sisters. I can only assume it went onto live a happy and productive life. All I know for certain is that it grew old enough to leave the nest and go out on its own.
This time, founder and president Sue Meech, told me to keep the bat warm, using an old sock filled with rice, microwaving it for approx 30 sec. After testing it to make sure it wasn’t too hot, I put it in beside the bat. The bat curled up next to it.
The centre is about a 45-minute drive away. My mom came along, holding the bat, in the container, on her lap.
At Sandy Pines I discover that my bat was a brown bat. He should’ve been hibernating. When hibernating, they only store enough fat in them to get through the winter. So, if you ever see a hibernating bat you shouldn’t touch it. If they wake-up and fly around, the energy they expel could use-up the fat they need to make through to spring. But, sometimes, they get hungry and wake-up, on their own, in search of food. This little guy was a little underweight at 15 grams, so that might have been what happened. How it got into the room, I don’t know, but they can get in through any ½ inch opening.
According to Susan Meech, the bat population has been greatly reduced by ‘White Nose Syndrome’ and windmills. She said that if the death rate continues at what it is they could end-up on the endangered species list.
As for my little brown bat, well, I also found out that bats are territorial. So, if he winters okay, he’ll be coming back home in the spring. Although, hopefully, not to my bedroom.

Copyright © Colin Frizzell 2011. All rights reserved.

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