Posted by: zhak39 | June 26, 2010

Chiroptera

We have bats in our belfry.

So we don’t have a belfry, we have gables. But we ere hosting a colony of bats.

Steven noticed them the other day when he poked his head in the attic above the garage, silhouetted brown bodies splayed across the screen the allows ventilation to the roof.

“We have to get rid of them.  Drive them out with music or harass them so they don’t come back.”

Sigh.  That’s not my thing and I felt an impasse brewing.

“How about we put up a bat house.  Give them somewhere else to go?”

“Hmmmpf.”

That’s husband talk for ‘no.’

Imagine my surprise when I later found my internet neophyte typing ‘bats’ with one fingered precision into google.

We have been researching bats for the last couple of days.  We are guessing that these are simple brown bats.  The first concern is whether this is a ‘bachelor’ bunch or a nursing colony.  Bats bear and raise their young from June to August.  They live separately by gender.  It is very disruptive to the females with young to be moved or disturbed.  The males can be moved any time.

We have decided to put up a bat house very close to the gable vent.  The bats chose this spot for the eastern view and shade in the morning from an old oak tree.  By putting a house in the same area it shouldn’t be too disruptive for them to move over a few feet.  They may not want to make the move because the spot that they have chosen does have some airflow.  Bat houses are ventilated but not as much as a wide venting of the gable.  If they do not choose to move in a week or so we can block off the venting to make their current home unattractive.  If this doesn’t work we can close off the gable in a lobster trap fashion.  They will be able to get out but will not be able to fly back in.  Hopefully they will find the bat house attractive and will not quit our area entirely.

If this works out we might put a second bat house on the far side of the workshop.  It also faces east and has shade in the morning.

Bats are great neighbors.  They are tremendous pest eaters, elegant flyers, quiet, interesting creatures.  So far, none of the kids have shown unusual signs of photosensitivity, unusual fang growth or a preference for blood on their corn flakes.  None have nested in our hair or given us rabies.  They are actually kind of cute with squishy little faces and they appear to be quite clean.  They are not rats with wings, in fact they are closely related to primates.

Take a look, the other day I did a quick count of about three dozen.  It’s hard to get a clear picture but this will give you an idea.

Not MTV Cribs, but it's home

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Responses

  1. You are correct about the benefits of bats, however their waste, while wonderful fertilizer, is something you don’t want brewing in your attic.

    I’m sure that you’ve already found this online…

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4448888_relocate-bats.html

    I wish you luck in the relocation.

  2. That one I hadn’t seen and the advice about seeding the house with guano is new for me. Thanks.

    My father brought up a concern about rabies. There is a pretty high prevalence of rabid bats there as well as ‘white nose syndrome.’ I looked up the local prevalence and it is quite low. We are looking at putting a house on a pole rather than right on the house.

  3. I have nothing to add here.

    We had a bat in our garage once, and my wife freaked, and called the city’s Animal Control Officer, who was completely unphased.

    She’d probably set the attic on fire to get rid of them, rather than try and deal with them.

    Enjoy the new project!

  4. My parents’ house had bats one year. We opened the windows and they would fly out. My mother did convince me once that she added them to the sauce when she was short of meatballs.

  5. Off subject (or maybe not). Something for literate Americana.

    http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/

  6. Crabby,

    I am glad that you pointed this out–I might have missed it this year. I am a huge fan of Bulwer-Lytton, particularly the 2005 entry that brought this contest to my attention…

    As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.

    –Dan McKay, Fargo, ND (2005 Winner)

  7. Love that B-L entry!

    Sounds like you’re doing the right thing with the bats. Do keep the rabies in mind though. I’ve thought about putting a bathouse up because of the terrible skeeter problem here. Now that the feral kitties are gone perhaps I should.


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