I recently discovered that my neighbors have bats living in their attic. There home is brick and between the brick and the aluminum molding that caps the roof there is a space about 1/2″ wide, just enough for some little brown bats to get through and make a home. There are also four rectangular holes, about an inch by five inches high that I have also seen them pass through.
The other day I was taking my dogs outside to our fanced in back yard, and I saw a baby bat in our drive way, dead. I heard the bats up above calling, and what sounded like another bat on the ground calling. So I started to look around. I found another dead baby, half eaten by ants. I continued to search the grass with a stick. And there it was, a little baby calling it’s mom, trying to crawl home! I brought the bat inside and tried to warm it in my hand while looking for the right person to call.
The first place I looked was Bat Conservation International (www.batcon.org). It was 7:30, so no one was in the office. Then I called the Animal Control, no one in the office. Then I finally got a phone number from a recording at the Animal Protective League. When I reached that person I was directed through two more people until I finally talked to a woman named Laura in Ashland, Ohio. First, she told me the best way to keep the baby warm is to fill a pop bottle with very warm water, put a loose sock around it, then let the baby cling to the sock. If it gets too warm, the baby will crawl off the bottle. Then she informed me that I needed to get the baby as close to the nest as possible so it can crawl back in to it’s mother. If Laura were to take care of the baby she would never be able to let it go back into the wild because she couldn’t teach it to echolocate, only it’s mother can do that.
So then began my quest for a ladder. First I went to my neighbor, because I would have to lean the ladder against his house. I asked him if he knew he had bats, he said yes, three have been in his house! So I told him I found the baby and that we have to get it back to it’s mother. I also explained to him that it is illegal to get rid of bats if they have babies, so if he wanted to, he’d have to wait until they are weaned and can leave the nest. At that point we could cover the area with plastic, leaving the bottom open, which lets the bats leave but not reenter. He understood, but did not have a ladder. So I asked another neighbor two doors down, she was more than happy to let us borrow it.
My batty neighbor held the ladder while I climbed to the baby’s nest. When I reached the top it was difficult to get the baby to hold on to anything, I think it was too young. So I gently placed it into one of the four rectangular holes and climbed back down. I only hoped that it didn’t fall down again! When I looked for it the next morning, I didn’t see it anywhere, so I guess that means it survived!!