Ready for the second part of the bat story?
Last you heard we’d shut him — or her — in the conservatory. Now what?
While it explored, flying circuits of the room, we did our own circuits of Google.
Well. That put the fear of death in us. Literally.
“Wear a mask.”
“Bats carry diseases.”
“Don’t breathe the air where it’s been.”
But those were American sites with different kinds of bats.
The UK sites — particularly the Bat Conservation Trust — were much more benign. They assured us that only a minute proportion of the winged mammals have tested positive for rabies.
So, take sensible precautions, but don’t panic, was the message.
We opened the external conservatory door (from the outside!) and tried various combinations of lights off and on, but it wasn’t for going anywhere.
Finally we gave up – it was late, and Batty seemed to have settled down somewhere unseen.
We couldn’t even be sure he hadn’t already gone. It was dark out (we live in the country, no street lights). The bat was dark brown. Dark against dark = impossible to spot.
Next day I was at work. Mr Fiction Ed counted the conservatory off limits.
We were out early that evening, all evening, so no time to do anything.
Saturday, I was out all morning, but after lunch, it was time.
We put on two layers of clothes zipped up to our chins, and leather gardening gauntlets, and then very carefully started to remove everything from the room, one piece at a time.
Finally, Mr Fiction Ed lifted a cushion.
“Found him,” he said.
We lifted the chair outside — and next I looked Mr F. Ed had shut himself inside the conservatory. My hero proves his mettle again!
We’d feared that Batty might have died, but one sleepy eye opened . . .
I scooped him up into a wide-mouthed tub, popped the cardboard cover over to shut him in, and took him along to the woods at the end of the road.
I know I should have waited till dusk, but last I saw him he was scrambling towards a nice dim hollow in a tree trunk. I think he was fine.
Oh, and we close the bedroom window at bat o’clock now, just in case . . .
Bat Appreciation Day falls in April every year. This inspired Features Ed Alex to put together a guide for looking after this often-misunderstood animal.