The Beetley Bat

After we ate our evening meal tonight, we retired to the living room to relax, and watch something on TV. After a few moments, I noticed that something was moving the paper inside the wood-burner. I looked through the glass door again, and confirmed that a corner of the paper was definitely moving. I presumed that wind was coming down the chimney, and causing the paper to flap around. But it was hardly windy enough out, and even during gales, the paper has never moved.

For clarification, I should add that even though it is not the season for using the wood-burner, I like to keep it made up, with paper and some logs, as it looks nicer, when seemingly ready to go.

I got closer, and sure enough, I could see something small and black moving around underneath the papers. I thought it might be a baby bird, or perhaps a mouse, or even a baby rat. It was black and furry though, so unlikely to be a bird. Once I was right next to the glass, I could immediately tell that it was a bat. It must have fallen down the chimney, and could well have been there for a few hours, as we had been out. Julie immediately retired to the bedroom. She has a fear of anything flying close to her, and would not be able to control her panic, if the creature had escaped. I have a great fondness for bats though, and I wasn’t about to leave it in there, as it would surely never find its way back up the long chimney, and would just starve to death.

I went out to the shed, and recovered an old biscuit box, that I had saved from Christmas. I had thought that it might come in handy, but had no idea at the time that it would ever be used for bat storage. I cut some holes in the lid for air, in case the bat was injured, and had to stay in there for a while, then padded the bottom with some paper towels, so it wouldn’t slip on the plastic. With Julie safely shut in the bedroom, I opened the door of the fire. Ollie was intrigued, and stood nearby watching, but made no attempt to harm his new guest. The bat sensed my presence, retreating into the crevices in the corner, where there was still some white ash from the last time it was used. I took a piece of kitchen towel, and wrapped it around the tiny animal, which was showing me a row of minuscule teeth. It let out a strange repeating cry as I gently gathered it up, and used its hooked claws to grab onto the surface of the paper towel.

Safe inside the box, a quick examination seemed to suggest that it was uninjured. It was moving around well, but making no attempt to fly. Reassured that it was safe in captivity, Julie emerged, to see it released in the garden. She likes to watch them too, but only outside the confines of our four walls. I took the box to the end of the lawn, and opened the lid. The bat was still clinging to the paper, and had to be gently shaken onto the grass. I was about to check that it was well enough to fly, when it took off, flying strongly over the roof of the kitchen. We were both pleased to see that it was fit and healthy, and I had enjoyed my close encounter with the warm and soft little creature.

It wasn’t until a few minutes later, that I realised I hadn’t taken a photo of it. I should have got a shot of the bat in its biscuit box, for posterity. It was a nice diversion though, the Beetley Bat.

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36 thoughts on “The Beetley Bat

  1. Actually, I think you are very brave, my hero. I love to watch the bats in the open, but I have spent so many horrible nights on duty in the hospital suffering under the terrorists; really it’s almost like a Hitchcock movie; it’s warm, boiling hot as a fact, and all the big windows are open. On the outside of the building the are lots of lights attracting the bats. They are bored to death. They know I’m on duty so they all decide to give me the shakes; 5-7 bats fly into the ward and for hours they fly up and down, up and down the corridors. I hide, petrified. If I appear they all aim for my forehead … Once, sitting at my desk, writing a report, I was attacked by a bat coming through the open window, only a tiny bit open. The bat hit the cupboard next to me and fell on my papers. i think we were both unconscious for several minutes!
    Dina 🙂

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    1. I sit in the garden, and the tiny bats fly around my head, but never into it. I think that I need to come to your ward, where bats enter to visit you. They eat lots of biting insects, and other irritations, like moths, so are mostly beneficial. And they are furry, and quite cute. No need to hide Dina! X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Outside it’s perfectly alright! 🙂 I think it’s because of their radars; I’m the only person in the corridor and their sensors keep them going to my highest point. ? Anyway, I make sure the doors and windows are closed now, must get my job done. 🙂
        x

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  2. How unusual! I once had one fly through my bedroom window at about one in the morning as I was reading – it flew around in circles above my head for about five minutes (whilst I cowered in my bed) until it worked out how to get back outside again. A very strange experience! I’m glad you managed to rescue and release it! L

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    1. I love bats Lucy, so I was happy to help. For some reason, most females seem scared of them, and I never understand why,as I find them very appealing. Glad to hear that your bat resumed its life outside.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. I sit on the balcony watching the bats but if one got in my flat I’d probably leg it & leave my wife to deal with it. 🙂
    Funny enough a friend that moved back to Ireland posted a photo on Facebook after waking up with a bat flying around in their bedroom.

    Well done Pete.

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  4. There are plenty of bats here in the Desert Southwest, and we always enjoy watching them as they jerk about in the sky in search of flying insects. The most interesting phenomenon is what happens at the Luxor on the Las Vegas Strip. Here’s an old article that describes the phenomenon well: http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/Las-Vegas-Luxor-s-shining-light-guides-bats-2920575.php
    And here is a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_RUCol7BWM

    Pete, I applaud your efforts to save the Beetley Bat. I suppose one must be cautious, though, as bats, as cute as they are, are sometimes known to carry diseases.

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    1. Thanks for the links David. I read the article, and watched the video. As a non-gambler, I was never that interested in Las Vegas, but I would go there to see the bat phenomenon! Strange that you should mention the diseases carried by bat bites. There are two types of bat in the UK that carry a disease similar to rabies, Lyssavirus. Someone in Scotland is dying of this as I type, after being bitten in Scotland. But he was a bat-handler for a living, and cases are rare. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-148224/Britons-rabies-nightmare-linked-bat-bite.html
      The small bat I found was not of the same type; but I didn’t chance it, and made sure to pick it up from the back!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. “A bat conservation worker is expected to die within days after becoming the first person in 100 years to catch rabies in Britain.” I’d hate to be in David McRae’s shoes, especially if he took time to read this “writing on the wall” article.

        By the way, I have visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico twice, but, unfortunately, at the wrong time of year.
        From Wikipedia: “The Mexican free-tailed bats are present from April or May to late October or early November. They emerge in a dense group, corkscrewing upwards and counterclockwise, usually starting around sunset and lasting about three hours.”
        I would love to see that!

        Pete, I don’t gamble, either. Although it’s amusing to visit the Strip once in a while, the real draw here is the desert with its landscapes, cactus, and critters.

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        1. Very true David, and there is the Grand Canyon too, we mustn’t forget that! I would like to see the ‘bat corkscrew’ as well, sounds like a sight to see.
          Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. Lovely bat tale, glad you found it otherwise the story could have had a gruesome ending.
    Knowing that they are keen and eating mosquitos they will always be welcome here in the summer.

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  6. Oh my goodness! I would be proclaiming, “It’s Time To Move.” if that were me in a house with a bat in the fire place. I say that in jest actually, but I really don’t care for the creatures at all. We have them nightly hanging by our front door, until winter when they leave. It’s against the law here to disturb them.. Well I say it should be against the law for the bats to disturb me from Spring until Winter…

    Loved your story though about the Beetley Bat…

    Take care my friend across the pond who saves bats…

    Laura ~

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    1. They are protected by law here too Laura. It’s a shame that you don’t care for them. I think they are very cute, though I wouldn’t want to be in a cave with millions of them!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pete, I think it’s just that I’ve seen too many scary movies and that’s where fear comes into play.. or else I would have moved by now.,…wink

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  7. I love bats. Outside. Last year we had a bat cling to the patio door screen and hang on and not move. It was awesome to get close to him. I guess he was an old bat. He dropped dead after three days. I was sorry to see him go.

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    1. Hi Cindy. I am trying to comment on your post about ‘The Hours’ but I cannot access your site. It is coming up with a fault error message. Just to make you aware. It might just be from my end.
      Regards, Pete.

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