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Bats are kinda cool....
Old 09-10-2009, 10:18 PM   #1
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Bats are kinda cool....

....if you can get past the creepiness factor. I sat on the patio after sunset yesterday and watched the amazing little aerial killing machines go to work on the moths that were heading toward our bug zapper light. Several of the bats were swooping around me, sometimes passing a foot or two from my head

DW thinks I'm She won't even come out the back door if one of the little furballs is airborne. I was fascinated by their maneuverability as they chased their prey. The moths had a grim choice: enter the light and be char-broiled by the electrical grids or remain airborne and end up in the jaws of a hungry bat.

A bat got in our house last summer and swooped around the livingroom while DW was watching TV. I had gone to bed early, but she put an end to my sleep as she described the devilish creature with the 3 foot wingspan that terrorized her. By the time I got up, the bat had disappeared. I found it the next day in the basement and killed it. As I carried the tiny creature's body outside, I showed it to her. She said "It looked a lot bigger flying over my head last night".
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:32 PM   #2
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I think bats are really cool too, but wouldn't want one flying in my house. Other than the creepiness factor, I would be concerned about rabies.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:19 PM   #3
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My son flies an electric RC airplane at a local park in the evenings. He told me he's had a bat chasing his plane for the last few visits. As good as he is, he says he can't outfly this bat.

He had a redtailed hawk attack an RC glider here in Texas years ago. He wasn't too happy about that.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:37 AM   #4
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When you live in the country, you look at things a little differently...
Bats are my friends . They take care of the mosquitos and other flying insects that abound in the always wet area in the "back 40" of my property. I do not use pesticides at all to control mosquito larvae in the standing water.
I love watching them fly at dusk. I've had them come pretty close but they never made any contact with me.
I attached 2 bat boxes on my building out back for them to take up residence, as opposed to them inevitably making their own spaces in the building. They have contained themselves to only the boxes.
I place a plastic planter (not shown in pic) beneath the houses to catch the guano.
In the picture, the batbox on the left is a nursery design, and the small one on the right is for adults. I built them myself from the spec sheets online at the NYS DEC site.
On a really warm day, they will creep downward to the lower edge of the boxes. If I'm very quiet, I can approach and look up inside from an angle and see them.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:39 AM   #5
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This is the Congress Ave bridge in Austin. Hundreds of thousands of bats make their home here part of the year, and it's quite a site when they come out at night. As a bonus, central Austin is nearly mosquito free.

We lived in a turn of the (last) century house for awhile when I was a kid, and had bats inside a couple of times. Once I took a sweatshirt off a doorknob and there was one under it. In my morning sleepy daze, I didn't know what it was and grabbed it. That's about as freaked out as I've ever been when it started squeaking and flapping.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:16 AM   #6
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More bats in central Texas. These photos from a Audubon Society trip to Bracken Cave. Alas, I missed it, but friends sent photos.
IMG_3957.jpg

IMG_3950.jpg

IMG_3954.jpg
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:49 AM   #7
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Carlsbad Caverns is a good way to spend the day if you are in the area.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park - Bat Flight Program (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:03 AM   #8
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We have a lot of bats out here this time of year. I like to be out watching them around sunset, flittering around and eating a bunch of annoying bugs.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:55 AM   #9
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I'm a big bat fan and have an occupied bat house on my barn. On a quiet evening, you can hear the bats' tongues zip through the surface of the pond when they first wake up and have a gliding drink.

Re bug zappers - they really don't kill mosquitoes but do massacre the moths. I've learned a lot about moths lately reading this book:

Amazon.com: Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard (9780892725281): John Himmelman : Books

They don't get much respect or admiration like their cousins, the butterfly, but they are important pollinators and are quite beautiful in their own way..
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:45 PM   #10
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I'll second the Carlsbad Caverns bat viewing. The best thing is watching them return in the early morning. As they dive down, their wings vibrate, then they open them and flutter into the cave.
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Bat Box
Old 09-11-2009, 04:29 PM   #11
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Bat Box

Neat little critters.

My newly installed bat box courtsey of the state wildlife bat guy. He provided the box and I did the installation per his recommendations. Did this in July. Had bats in just a couple of weeks! Have plans to build a bat box in a pdf file if anyone is interested.

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Old 09-12-2009, 09:26 AM   #12
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We have had a bat box up for the last 4 years. Sadly, no bats have yet seen fit to take up residence. I would like them around to eat the bugs.
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:50 AM   #13
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Bats and Rabies | Rabies

Quote:
Why Should I Learn About Bats and Rabies?

Most of the recent human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by rabies virus from bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help people protect themselves, their families, and their pets.
CDC link and quote just provided FYI with no comment since I am neither a medical doctor nor an epidemiologist.
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:00 PM   #14
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I live a few miles from Bracken Cave. Supposedly over 20 million female bats and pups live there during the summer. Quite a spectacle. Better than Carlsbad, but more difficult to observe.

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Old 09-13-2009, 08:15 AM   #15
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When I was young we'd stand outside at dusk throwing little pebbles up into the air above us to watch the bats veer path and chase it back down. It was quite a thrill since if you could toss it straight up they'd follow it down within inches of you.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
Bats and Rabies | Rabies



CDC link and quote just provided FYI with no comment since I am neither a medical doctor nor an epidemiologist.

I became a bit more creeped out my this when my SIL, who is a pediatrician, had her kids go through the rabies vaccination treatment after they had a bat in the house at night when they were sleeping. She said that a bat in the room with kids you can't be sure one did not get bit.

I least the treatment wasn't the old "shots in the stomach" that I used to hear about.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:50 AM   #17
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Yup, there have been plenty of rabies deaths where it was only properly diagnosed after the off-handed mention of some sort of bat contact a month earlier, even if there wasn't any recollection of an actual bite.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:52 PM   #18
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This talk of picking up critters reminds me of something the Ranger at South Mountain Park in Phoenix once told me. She said they have a saying amongst the rangers... what's the last thing the victim of rattlesnake bite says before being bitten? "Here, hold my beer."

Apparently a disproportionate amount of rattlesnake bites involve young males and alcohol, where they decide they are qualified snake handlers.
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:29 PM   #19
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Look closer:

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Old 09-13-2009, 03:19 PM   #20
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I look forward to the bats showing up in late spring. Sometimes I see one doing figure-eights near the street light in front of the house.
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