Monday, September 01, 2008

The Pipistrelle

The Pipistrelle is the UK's smallest and most common bat. I am not suprised that we've got a few around the place. I see loads of bats flying at dusk. Sometimes I will see what looks to be mouse droppings on my car in the morning. They aren't mouse droppings, they are bat droppings. The look very similar. Before we finished the extension, it was my assumption that the bulk of the bats were living in the stone farmworker's cottage. When work began on the building that is reported to have been built in 1835 we may have upset the home of a few bats. They like to live underneath a slate roof, especially if the slate roof is ancient and a number of the slates have slid to the ground over the years. It is my thinking that when the old cottages were re-slated, the bats just moved over to the other building (our house) where they wouldn't be disturbed any further.

The Man of the Place had to go up into the attic before work for something this morning. He came back down almost immediately with an old sofa cushion. Attached to the cushion was a little pipistrelle bat! I don't think it was very well as it didn't move. It also had a couple of spider webs on its fur. I understand that bats are very clean animals and groom themselves and each other often. The fact that this little creature looked untidy could be a sign that he's unwell. It allowed me to take a number of photographs of it.You can see the cobwebs on its fur in this photo.
I took a photo with the bat near my hand so you can see just how tiny they are.

When I finished taking pictures of it, I moved the bat to the middle of one of my hanging baskets. This way the little flying mammal is safe from Julio our cat. I KNOW I am not a registered bat handler and I should be touching or moving bats, but what are we supposed to do in these instances?

The little bat is really very beautiful and I hope it perks up and lives a long and happy insect eating life.

The above pictured bat was just fine in the end. He chilled out in the hanging basket until dark and then took off.

MEANWHILE another bat got lost and was flitting around in our living room. I was trying to watch a re-run of House (Hugh Laurie is delicous) and the bat was just too distracting. I closed the doors and opened the windows and it eventually flew out.

I now suspect there is an entire colony living up underneath our slates. Good thing I'm not the squeamish type.

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