Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just plain batty

Tonight I held a baby bat in my hands. No, really, I know what you’re thinking (ewwwww!) but I really did. And it was very cool. Rick and I were out swimming tonight after it was dark by the light of the Tiki torches. We were doing laps in the *almost* 80 F degree pool water (finally!) when I noticed something strange crawling right along the edge of the pool. At first I thought it might be a frog due to its ungainly gait. When I got close I realized it was tiny baby bat!

With our bat population down here in New Jersey by a huge degree due to a fungus that has been affecting our bat population, I was ecstatic to see this little guy! He was insistent upon going into the pool no matter how Rick or I tried to redirect him. He seemed to be unable to fly. Finally I jumped out of the pool, let him climb on my hand, and transported him to the railing where he would at least be safe from puppy-everything-goes-in-my-mouth Bella who was also out with us. He felt strange to my hand. Not like the hummingbird which I held last year; not like a rodent-like creature either. I felt its wings a bit and maybe its feet. I can’t describe him quite. Not creepy though. 

When I put him down on the railing he started crawling along. We weren’t sure if it was hurt and unable to fly, or just too young to fly.

I jumped back in the pool and continued swimming. About ten minutes or so later I decided to get out and see if it was still making its way along the railing. I found it not too far from where I had left it. I spoke softly to it and said something like “are you still here” and with the breath from my voice it spread its tiny wings and flew away.

I can only hope in that instant it finally learned how to fly. Am I just plain weird that I feel quite blessed tonight?

See you next year, little fledgling bat ...

Comments:

Please be careful when handling bats or any animal that might appear unwell—you probably want to at least wear a pair of leather gloves.  Most human rabies cases in the USA are caused by bats.  (Worldwide, dogs are the most common cause of human transmission.)  Common indicators of rabies would be bats that are out during the day, that appear unwell or are unable to fly.

We happen to live in a part of CA where rabies isn’t so uncommon so perhaps I’m more than a bit wary!

You are so right, Christina! I didn’t even think about it until after I had written this post. It was very very small and I just assumed it was too little to fly. Had I not been swimming in the pool at the time I probably would have gotten something to pick it up with.

When the little guy just trotted right into the pool, my first instinct, without thinking, was to put my hand under him and rescue him by lifting him out of the water and putting him on the pool deck. Of course, the just walked right back into the water. You are right, we should have been smarter about handling him.

Still - what a cool experience!

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