Living in Luxury Off The Grid - There’s Bats in our Belfry!
In 2009 we had a bat problem.
Our main chimney cracked in an earthquake in 2007, two years earlier. Instead of rebuilding it we disassembled it down to the level of the floor in the attic and re-roofed over the chimney. We still have a very large wood stove in the middle of the living room that is unusable (someday we'll have to take the glass out of a large living room window out to get the stove outside as the doors are way too small) though not bad looking.
A friend of the previous owner made a custom-built stove that looks like a jukebox.
No, it doesn't play music. (Yes, people have asked.)
Two years passed and I was sitting in the living room, typing on my computer when I heard bumping coming from inside the wood stove. That's when we found out that when we replaced the roof the attic didn't get adequately sealed. Turns out that a small colony of bats found our attic and one had fallen down the hole in the attic floor where the top of the chimney was still open.
I put on some gloves and carefully cupped the bat in my hands and put it out of the window to fly off. Soon bats started falling down the chimney every day. Occasionally we had one come flying out of the stove door before I could grab it.
Herding bats is like herding cats except they move in all 3 dimensions. It's challenging.
I could tell when it was a previously 'rescued' bat by how easily it dodged my hands and then immediately found the open window where we let them out. (dumb mammal - if it remembers how to get out why can't it remember not to fall down the chimney?)
Bat hanging in the upper corner on the screen in the window.
One fine morning in August I went to put another bat out the window and it bit into my glove. That was new. The bats had never tried to bite before! I put it out the window and a few seconds later I felt something moving on my arm. A tiny bat pup was clinging to my sleeve!
The pup was about as big as a nickel (21mm) and nearly impossible to get a good photo of
as the bats here are pitch black.
I put a hot water bottle in a small box, wrapped a couple towels around the bottle and made a little nest in the towels to stick the baby in then, with the baby squeaking fit to lead a band, I opened the attic trap door and shoved the box in.
I checked the box at about midnight and found it empty. It really would have helped if we knew the American 'bat' dialect. Since the little critter was too young to fly and the box sides were slick cardboard I expect that it got back to its mother. After that I was much more careful of rubbing against 'mommy's' tummy but we only got one more mommy bat - she had triplets hanging on. I have no clue how she was able to fly with all that ballast but she didn't attempt to maim me and she took off out the window with all the pups hanging on.
We got the roof and chimney problem fixed in early winter (after the bats had left us to hibernate).
In the years since we haven’t had any more bats in the attic but people who wander past the workshop at the right time of summer can hear a vigorous, low-volume bird-song chorus that is really the bats, staying warm while huddling under the corrugation of the tin roof keeping toasty-warm as the summer sun beats down. It makes me smile.
Any internet photos I used are linked to that photo. Click on it to go to the site. Any photos that are not linked are my own.