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.