banner_bat_matters



I Have Six Bats In A Box

Actually, I have 7 bats. One is a lesser long-eared bat in one of the tents. The other 6 are freetailed bats found in some firewood. There are 5 females and a male. In the spring the male will do his thing then the females will kick him out.

They didn't like the tent so I put them in the release box. Ultimately the box will be screwed to a tree and the bats can come and go as they please. Right now it is leaning against a wall with the hole blocked up. The bats don't need feeding since they have settled in for some serious hibernating.

The bat in the tent is a fat little guts who eats everything I give her and hates me at the same time. I didn't know bats held grudges. I also didn't know they hated baths. Now I know.

I think the bat in the tent has forgiven me. Or, at least, she now tolerates me in that "Give me food this instant and I won't rip your head off" way. I let her fly around the room for 30 minutes last night. For the records I've named her Xena.

The colony of freetails are upset because I moved them out of the box so I could paint it. I now have all the mounting backets to screw the box to a tree. They can go back to the release site Real Soon. After a bit of research I came to the conclusion that they are inland freetails, not southern freetails. The species are identical except that the male southern freetails have bigger dicks, about 20mm. The male I have has a 10mm dick. Thank heavens for vernier calipers and dettol.

A loaf of bread failed. It looks like a nice loaf, but it's a bit smaller than usual and feels real heavy.

The bread making thingy worked okay yesterday so I don't know what the problem is today. I'll try again later when it's cooled off.

In the meantime, the meal worms will have a bready feast and get nice and fat, and I'll feed them to the bats. Xena happily munches through 30 worms a night. Warra guts!

I hope mum dosen't do a surprise visit and try to hang things in the wardrobe. The bats I evicted from the release box are hanging in there. They're in a pillow case tied to a coat hanger. The box is airing in the shed to make the paint smell fade a bit. Hopefully I can finally release them. Xena is nice and fat, and I think she will be stressed when I throw her out of the tent and into the flight aviary. I've ordered her release box.

The Six

The little colony have been evicted from the recue box so I could paint the outside. The box is airing off in the sun to get rid of the paint smell. Meanwhile the bats are in a rescue bag which is inside a thicker pillowcase, and hanging in the wardrobe. In case you're wondering, the wardrobe is dark, cool and quiet.

I hope mum doesn't do a surprise visit and try to hang things up.

Xena

Xena has either forgiven me for the bath, or she has decided I've been punished enough. Feeding time is a simple affair now: I just put her food in the dish and she eats it when she's ready. Every few days I lock us in the spare room and wake Xena for some flight time. She's getting about 2 hours a week which should be enough to keep her muscles exercised. Rousing her takes about 15 minutes and there is much growling and baring of teeth, but that's just a natural threat display done by bats who are still too groggy to defend themselves.

Nights here are around the 0-5C mark. It is too cold to release Xena so she will probably be kept for the duration in the flight aiviary, where she is garenteed food and shelter. The Mogriguy 6 have settled down for some serious torpor so it won't matter if I put them out. They have settled into the box so well.

Picked up another bat today, another lesser long-eared bat. That makes 8 for the winter.

She weighs 4 grams; 2 grams less than Xena. She had found a safe place near the ground in a corner of an outdoor cafe. When I picked her up she bared her teeth and spread her wings - a threat display put on by dozey bats who are too out of it to actually escape. (waves to Weyrbird) I wasn't terribly treatened, but the cafe's customers were. They ran onto the footpath to escape the bat. A bit pointless really since it was a sidewalk cafe, and all they did was put a piece of wooden lattice between them and the beast.

Right now she is hanging in a tent. I'll try to feed her soon. I'm trying to think of a name starting with Y.

Xena has decided I am not her enemy. She clibms into my hand as she looks for food, and she doesn't bite. Every second night I let her fly in the spare room.

The Six have been returned to thier box. They are happy again, but I will be happier if I can get them to eat anything. I've had them for 6 weeks now and they haven't eaten a THING. They're still fat. it must be a hibernation thing.

Eight Bats

That's 2 lesser long eared bats and 6 southern freetails,

I persuaded Ysabeau to eat one meal worm tonight. I had to push it in her mouth and hold it until she started, but it all went in. It's not much but it's a start.

In contrast, Xena rips through twenty worms a night. All I have to do for her is kill them and put them in a dish.

These two bats are so different in temperament. Ysabeau is quiet, timid, and gentle. She creeps around my hand looking for somewhere secure to hide. Xena is... well, Xena. It's all I can do to hold on to her.

Ysabeau ate 5 worms last night.

She refused to eat the first few nights, then she took one worm. Last night she ate 5 whole, lightly killed worms. I hope soon she will feed herself, but she'll never be as much of a guts as Xena, who happily eats 20 worms a night.

Out of curiosity I weighed the worms: 3 grams. Xena weighs 6 grams. I am concerned that she MIGHT be getting despite the flights in the spare room. I let her swoop and zoom while I hand the worms to Ysabeau. Now that I think of if, Xena can't be too fat or she wouldn't fly.

I can't believe the difference in temperaments between these two bats of the same species. Ysabeau is a little sweetie. She is timid, cautious and is happy to hide in my hands. She doesn't even mind being held.

Xena, on the other hand, isn't. It's all I can do to hold in to her, and even harder to do that without being bitten.

They even eat differently. Ysabeau carefully licks the outside of the worm, then nibbles the end until it's in her mouth. Next she works it around until the worm is poking out the corner, then she bites and releases, bites and releases, the worm feeding in one side and coming out the other, like a typewriter. After the worm has been thouroughly crushed she works it back around to the front and nibbles at it until there's none left. Then she starts the next worm.

Xena bites, and swallows what's in her mouth.

Bats like Ysabeau are nicer to care for and make me want to KEEP them, but Xena is far easier to look after and remind me that they really do belong in the wild. Anyway, it looks like I have these two for at lease another month.

The six freetails from Mogriguy are starting to look a bit thin, which is understandable when you consider they haven't eaten anything for 9 weeks. They are very sluggish when I look at them. I'll try to feed them when they come out of torpor.

Xena jumped on my hand last night and sniffed around looking for food. I think I've been forgiven. I have no doubt I could go back on her shit list in a second but it's nice to have her being frie- tolerating.

Last night I picked up Ysabeau for her feed, which takes ages and is a tedius job, but instead of the sleepy, stiff, cold, torpid animal of the last few weeks I found a warm bundle of energy. She scampered onto my hand and snuffled around before licking the at the worm smells on my fingers. She munched through a dozen small worms even trying to pick them up from the ground. She is trying to self-feed; an excellent sign.The usual go in a case like this is that within a week I won't have to handle the animal and it can just eat what I throw into the dish. Less handling is better for the animal no matter how much I want to pat them and squeeze them and call them George.

Ysabeau even flew from one side of the tent to the other. Looks like I'll have 2 for the flight room.

oh, and...
The worms I left in Ysabeau's tent last night were gone this morning. She has started feeding herself at last.

Ysabeau is self-feeding now, scarfing down a dozen meal worms every night. She is quite independant, but she doesn't mind being handled. I visited the cafe today and told the people there how their bat was going. They were very happy to hear she was doing so well.

Xena is... Xena. She still hates being handled, still growls, still tries to bite. I discovered she likes being rubbed under the chin. She closes her mouth and eyes and sits silently while I moved my finger back and forth. It's the only time she stops being pissed off.

Three times a week I take Xena and Ysabeau into the spare room and let them fly. Xena launches immediatly, while Ysabeau warms up.I've noticed Ysabeau is noticably larger than Xena so she's probably a few years older. Xena may only be a year old.

The Mogriguy 6 are still hibernating, but one warm night I almost ended up with 3. There is nothing like the sound of zooming wings to drag a bloke out of a deep sleep. Three of them, the male and 2 females, found their way out of the release box. I caught one immediately, and found the male and the other in a pile of paper when the male squeaked at me. They are all in the spare tent now. I've been trying to feed them but it's tedious. I have to poke the worm guts into their mouths and wait until they swallow.

NEW BAT! At lunchtime I picked up a young little forest bat. He weighs 3 grams and his wing span is a bit less than the length of my hand. I'm calling him Zak, after the slang name for the old sixpence we used to have. He's about the same size.

At first I thought there was something wrong with him, but he warmed up and went for a flight around the room. There's nothing wrong with him a belly full of grubs won't fix.

It took me nearly an hour, but I finally got Zak to eat last night. Eventually I shoved the first meal worm in his mouth and he spat it out. After that he turned his head away from the food ("NO! Yucky!") It took a lot of paitence to get it in again, and he bit on it, possibly thinking it was me.

It took a long time to eat the first worm. The next two were a lot easier, in fact he sniffed the third worm and bit it almost immediately.

He saw the 4th worm coming and bit at it. Unfortunately his aim was off and he ended up with a mouthfull of pillow case, which he then refused to release in case it was food. It took much waving or worms under his nose to make him let go, then after that I just had to keep the worms coming. He ate 7 small ones.

I can't see him being in care for more than a week.

All we need is some warmer weather.

And Life Goes On

Xena and Ysabeau have been "soft released." This is where the animal is taken to the release site and the cage door is left open so it can go when it feels like it.

In this cage, the release site was my back yard, about 1km from their capture points.

Earlier in the eventing I let them fly around the room to see if they were ok. They were. I put worms in their tents, hung the tents in a tree and left the zippers open.

Next moring Ysabeau was gone.

I did the same for Xena last night, and this morning she was gone, too.

Just Zak and the Mogriguy 6 to go.

I took Zak into the spare room and waited until he was warm, then I put him on the curtains and turned out the light. After about 10 minutes he was looking around the rooms. I stood close and I could hear a faint buzz: he was pinging.

Then he flew.

I let him zoom and swoop for half an hour, then turned on the light and caught him.

I'll have to check the 4 day weather forcast to make sure there's no cold fronts coming. If it looks good, tommorow night he goes.



Table of Contents

Main Page


Four Peewees



Valid HTML 4.01! site design and coding by fractalcoffee.com Valid CSS!