Are You Batty?

I’ll bet you didn’t realize that October is National Bat Appreciation Month, or that October 24-31 is Bat Week . I learned this when I clicked on Tuesday’s photo 

 where I learned that bats:

– help us by devouring tons of insects and forest pests

– and by pollinating some of our favorite fruits

– are one of the largest and longest living species on earth

– the smallest bat – called appropriately enough Bumblebee Bat – has a body about 1 inch long

– white-nosed syndrome has decimated some bat populations since being identified in 2006

When I checked in my Mammals in Minnesota Field Guide (by Stan Tekiela), I found that Minnesota hosts both the Big and Little Brown Bats, the Northern Myotis, and the Red, Silver-Haired, and Hoary Bats.

– these live 15-20 years – females often gather in “maternity colonies” of between 30 and 75 bats, depending on species

– some species live in holes in trees or even under bark, and either migrate or hibernate in winter

– others make their summer homes in attics, church steeples, barns and other buildings; spend winters in caves and mines

– most Minnesota bats are between 1-1/2” and 4”, with wingspans between 8” and 16”

Bats are our friends. One way to help them is to build or buy a bat box, giving them a safe place to roost:

Got any bat stories? What actor played your favorite Batman, or your favorite Count Dracula?

38 thoughts on “Are You Batty?”

  1. Morning all. I have plenty of bat stories, having lived in a house with an apparently bat-friendly attic.

    Once however, as I was working in the kitchen, with the kitchen door open to the back yard, a small brown bat suddenly flew right in through the door and landed on my leg, right above the knee. I was able to slowly walk out onto the back porch and shoo the bat off my leg. My wasband had freaked out a bit and I will admit, that if I had been wearing shorts instead of jeans, I might have freaked out a bit as well when the bat landed on me. I like to think the bat had a nice afternoon after everyone’s scare.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been in a few shows and worked on some shows where bats came onstage and swooped over audience and actors alike. They’re good at stealing focus. The show continues but you know no one is looking or listening to the actors anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The daughter of some friends was getting bit up by bugs in her bed at night. They thought they were bed bugs. The exterminator told them they were bat bugs, and that they should check their attic for bats. Sure enough, there was a bat roost in the attic just above the girl’s bedroom closet. Our friends had to work with Game and Fish to get the bats out of the attic resettle them, as they are protected.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a roommate who went up north for a weekend with the boys and after taking a shower came out to sit down at the dining room table in the nude.
    there was a sweater draped over the back of the chair and when he sat down on it he realized too late there was a bat nestled in the sweater and the bat bit him.
    surprised freaked out and in pain my friend gather the sweater and the bad went over to the door and through the bat out the door into the yard.
    i’m on returning to the cities he went to the hospital at the advice of the premise he was with and they were sorry to inform him that unless he has the bath so that they could test for rabies he would have to go through their rabies shots procedures
    He got back in his car and drove up to the cabin where he did not find the bat and returned to begin the series of 19 the shots over 19 days .He said it was the most painful thing he had ever gone through.


  5. I’m reluctant to tell this story because it is complicated, goofy and will be incoherent to anyone who has not flyfished for trout at night. Flyfishing on brushy rivers is difficult by daylight, but everything gets weird when you do it in the dark. I used to fish at night every June, although there was one stream I rarely visited because it was so scary. Why scary? The White River of northern Wisconsin runs through wilderness. The stretch we fished was called the Bibon Swamp, a desolate area where all the trees were tall and dead. The only things you’d hear there were hooting owls, barking foxes and the bizarre ululations of coyotes. No humans live anywhere near that area. The Bibon Swamp terrified me, but for complex reasons I pretended otherwise.

    One June night I fished the White all alone for two hours, catching nothing but mosquito bites. When it was obvious the night was a botch I headed back to my car, throwing around a fly while I walked in water up to my chest. Somewhere in the dark a bat smacked my fly while it was in the air. I couldn’t see this, but I knew what happened because the air above the river was filled with bats, and there was nothing else that could have grabbed my fly.

    Then, to my horror, I saw the silhouette of the bat, apparently hooked by my fly. It was swimming toward me, flailing the water with webby wings, about two feet from where I was standing in deep water. I screamed. I tried to run backwards against the current so the bat would be swept downstream. My panicked brain was demanding speed that my legs couldn’t produce, so I fell backward into the icy river. I went down hard, hitting the sandy bottom of the river. Coming up again was awful because I didn’t know where the bat was . . . like on my hat or maybe down the front of my waders. Screaming as I never had before or since, I ran backwards upstream. At some point I finally realized I was all alone. The bat was gone. Nobody was there except one bearded guy howling like a madman and running backward in waders that were now filled with river water.

    I never fished alone in the dark after that night and I never went near the Bibon Swamp again.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Pretty as it is, flyfishing for trout is mostly about catching small fish. “Small” meaning six to twelve inches, usually. Once a year (starting the second week in June) there is an evening hatch of a giant mayfly called the Hexagenia. The sudden appearance of all those meaty mayflies causes big trout–even those carnivorous trout that mostly eat other trout–to come out and feed. Fishing after nightfall then gives the trout angler a good shot at catching a trophy fish. It is a wild, intense sort of fishing that can terrify the sort of angler who has an active imagination.

        As for your other question, BiR, I taught my bride to hunt and fish. She was fascinated to learn a new way of looking at the world, and she had enough pluck to fish by herself at night although we usually stayed together. She had some project to do on the night the bat and I had that calamitous meeting.


  6. We had bats nesting in our attic for many years – getting into the upstairs bedrooms through the tiny holes in the knotty pine paneling. My sisters and I could hear them scratching on the attic walls at night. My folks kept 2 badminton rackets handy and when one would come swooping into the dining room & living room (actually one big room), they would “play” badminton with it until it bit the dust. Anytime we had to go into the attic, we wore one of 2 “bat hats” – a plastic white pith helmet or a large brim straw hat with an orange band. There was almost always some guano on the floor. Once Mom found a bat curled (dead) in a sheet she was removing from the washing machine. To catch bats, Mom would put a 1 lb coffee can in the attic with a small amount of water in the bottom Bats would go in it to get a drink but were unable to get back out. Eventually the entry holes in the soffit were plugged up and no more house bats. But at dusk we could see a lot of them flying around the house looking for a way in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It pains me to hear that adults would kill a bat by playing badminton with it, or catch it by letting it drown in a coffee can. That’s just cruel.


  7. Daughter was Rosie the Riveter, and got 2nd place at her work costume competition. Grandson was Tigger. Husband was Psychologist going to Court (he was in tribal court all morning).

    Liked by 1 person

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