A BAT COMES TO STAY
First let’s dispel a few bat myths then on with my tale.
Bats are blind or might bump into you
NO. Bats use echolocation – a sort of radar – to find their way around.
They can “see” much better than any person! This is amazing technology .
Myth: Bats attack people
NO. Most bats are gentle animals and would much rather get out of a person’s way than to attack him or her. All wild animals may defend if trapped or injured BUT most wild animals keep well away from humans.
Myth: Bats are pests
Wrong. Bats help control pests!
A single bat can snap up over 600 mosquitoes in one hour, as well as other little pests! So welcome bats and please eat any of the insects that might want to bite me.
Some species of bats even take part in the life cycle of plants by pollinating them. Bats play important roles in ecosystems.
Bats are vampires
Misleading. The majority of bats are insect eaters and do not suck blood.
The few that do are small and only suck from small animals.
A Year in the Life of a Bat – Bat Conservation Trust
Bats spend most of the winter hibernating. These pages can help us understand bats better.
A Bat for my Birthday.
There had been noises in the night and with some trepidation I picked up the handy solar lamp and went to investigate. I have got used to noise of many different kinds out here in the countryside. However, usually outside the house. Wind, rain, engine rumblings in the distance, owls. But the house, now, inside, is much quieter and so much better insulated so that only the most severe weather might wake me. In the un quaint old house it would be large bangs, bumps and rattling along the corrugated iron and loosely fitting tiles of the roof. Sometimes there would be such a hefty thump you would think an elephant had landed. Maybe an owl out catching small mammals, a fox or the more elusive beech marten of which there had been evidence of its latrine under the old roof tiles.
Now we were watertight, fully insulated on the roof and the walls with modern methods for keeping heat in and out. But there is always something that wants to be in the house. The spiders have woven their way back with some flies and other insects that bite in the night. And of course there have been some rustlings of mice but not for a while.
The sound that woke me made me think of mice rustling but as I went down the stairs and into the middle level the noise was not mousy but whirring. Suddenly a bat whirred by me in the ray of the lamp. I jumped a little with the sudden movement but was more relieved that the sound had come from a bat rather than a rat. I did go back to sleep.
Two nights later our guests arrived and as we had hurriedly moved into the lower level to give them the best accommodation and then were so busy with the final parts of the plumbing system being completed we forgot about the bat.
As our guests were going to bed I suddenly remembered and thought best to warn them and reassure that there might be a bat. Our friends are made of strong stuff and didn’t think it a problem.
On the morning of my birthday I was regaled with tales of the bat in the night and as the day went on the bat seemed to get bigger and bigger. They had heard noises and then put a torch on and had a very clear view of the bat crawling up the wall. And then disappearing on a ledge by the wooden beams of the roof. We were also worried about how the bat got in and could get out. If it was trapped surely it would starve.
To celebrate my … birthday we had decided to eat out at lunchtime and drove out to a bar by the reservoir. But things were not going well. First, the bright sunshine had turned to grey. Second, the chef had not arrived. Thirdly, we ordered coffee and waited and waited. And even waited after an explanation about the coffee machine. When the coffee arrived…it was barely warm. A cold coffee experience over which we thought we should leave but as it was a long drive up out of the valley we stayed. Next it was cold chips and then…
Finally, one piece of undercooked fish. Things were not going well for a birthday meal. Tensions and irritability were high. Patience had worn thin. Then a surprise turn of fortune.
Within several exchanges of conversation with the people running the bar the mood changed. We had been offered some hot, spicy and milky tea( Pakistani tea from Granada!) and as we talked with the proprietor we found a lot of interesting topics to discuss. He was a graduate in Environmental Science and very knowledgable about the flora and fauna of the local area. He and some others had had a contract to run the lakeside cafe along with some environmentally friendly projects. They were now having to give it up. So it was a difficult time for their project which at its heart had an environmental focus. He was also a guide and did walks on ecology, identification of mushrooms, flowers etc. He was telling us about the hares he had seen near our Finca. We had found a fellow enthusiast. He was also helpful about the bat visitation. For its size it was probably a noctule. In the area there are eight different species and all endangered. The bat had probably found one of the yet to be covered vents and was seeking a place to hibernate. We had inadvertently built a bat house as it had probably nestled down into the insulated area between the inner and outer wall. It would probably hibernate and in April or when warmer would wake and find a few insects.
If we let it out now it could die of cold.
Our visitors were ready with camera that night. I said they were made of strong stuff. But the bat did not put in an appearance and was probably safely snuggled up in the warmth of the insulation panels. And had chosen well as we are unlikely to disturb it and if it wakes early there should be a few insects and later a way out into the warmth of Spring. The bedroom has been referred several times as the ‘upper house’ or the belfry. Guests who wish to stay at Navasola need to be nature lovers.