Bats in the Walls

by sheilamarie

Bats roosting in your house is no joke! But closing up the holes at the wrong time of year can lead to even worse problems -- for you and for the bats!

First I heard the scratching in the walls. Going outside to investigate, I listened to the high-pitched peeps. When dusk closed in, out they came one by one, diving and dipping in the shadows.

Bats will roost wherever they find the right space. These little creatures that are responsible for eating large volumes of mosquitoes and other unwelcome pests are facing a difficult time these days.

I'm willing to help, but do they have to become roommates?

The above illustration is © Sheila Murray-Nellis from the book Fiona the Theater Mouse. All rights reserved.

Bats Can Make You Batty

Or How I Learned to Love the Little Critters Despite My Hysterical Introduction to Their Antics

It's not that I'd never seen bats up close before. I had experienced a couple of isolated bat invasions during the summer months when I was visiting someone else's house. It's just that I had never had to share my living space with bats who had taken up residence.                                                                                            

 

I don't think I could ever get used to listening to the scratching behind the walls, knowing that at some point in the not-so-distant future I would be surrounded with the spastic fluttering of winged rodents as they ate a hole through my ceiling or walls and squeezed through into my bedroom at night. I was terrified that I may awake in the still dark wee hours of the morning and be dive-bombed by several furry flyers whose appearance recalled dark spooky tales.

In reality, there's no chance a bat will transform into a vampire, and even the bats that are called "vampire bats" live in the tropics and so far away from my northern home. It is also true that vampire bats are not known to attack humans, preferring to snack on the blood of large herbivores, such as cows and horses.

Still, this knowledge doesn't really make me dislike a bat invasion any less. Bats are fine, even helpful, creatures who gobble up hundreds of mosquitoes a night (you know, those little darlings that actually do feast on human blood). But they are appreciated for their good work out of doors -- not inside the house.

Bats Are an Endangered Species

Have You Ever Had Bats at Your House?

Either welcomed or intruders?

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Oooo, no, whew!
ologsinquito on 06/20/2013

Not in my house, but in my grandmother's house years ago. One of my uncles got it out and then bought my grandmother some sort of high frequency sound device that was said to be a detriment to bats. They never came back.

BardofEly on 10/11/2012

I rent an apartment and no bats come in it but I see a pair flying outside my balcony a lot. I love bats and that was why I checked out this Wizz! I have even let moth caterpillars eat pepper plants and tomatoes I was growing here by saying the adult moths will be potential bat food and these little animals need helping lol!

katiem2 on 08/11/2012

No but they do fly around in the yard all the time. We have neighbors who are big bat advocates. They pass out bat information fliers every year at halloween with a cute plastic toy bat included.

Sure have! Here's what happened. . . .
PeggyHazelwood on 08/11/2012

Yes, several in two different houses in Illinois. Oh man, it was awful.

frugalrvers on 08/10/2012

This is too funny, now that I survived it. The home I used to have, in Montana, had a bat in it one night. My girlfriend and I were up late, sitting at the kitchen table talking (Jim was in bed). All of the sudden a bat started flying around our house! She flipped out, ran into the nearest room (guest room) and shut the door on me! I panicked and laid flat on the floor, yelling at her and pounding on the floor to wake Jim up (he did wake up and got the bat out). Great friend, eh? Leaving me alone in the kitchen, on the floor!

Time to Put Up a Bat House?

Teak Bat House

Attract bats to your yard and garden with this well-built bat house. Despite their scary reputation, bats are friends, not foes. Most species consume huge amounts of insects eve...

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Bat House - 3 Chambered

This bat house has 3 chambers that can hold up to 50-75 bats. Ideal for the small brown bat. All inner surfaces are roughened. The house should be mounted in a tree, on a pole, ...

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Bat Houses

Here's a Really Helpful Article About Getting Rid of Bats

It Includes Some Localized Information --Including Warnings About How Bats Are Protected in the UK and Information About Time of Year to Intervene for Some States

How to Get Rid of Bats
Excellent article about bats and advice on how to deal with them.

So? Have I Solved My Bat Problem?

So how did I get rid of the bats scratching in my walls? Truth is, I haven't, at least not yet. I am writing this in early August. The bat biologist I consulted told me to wait until the end of the month at least before closing up our bat holes. I am also aware that the bats need an alternative place to roost, or they will not survive the winter. I have not yet solved this problem and don't want to condemn these little mosquito munchers to an early demise. But when the moment comes, and I am nailing tin or some other unchewable surface to the wooden places where there are now tiny holes, I will be certain to record my experience and post it here. I just hope I can get to it before it is too late for this year!

 

What Has Your Bat Experience Been?

Do you have a bat story to tell? Please sign the comment section and share your experience with the other readers of this wizzle. We all need a little courage. And a little perspective on how to overcome our nervousness about certain creatures. As one way of dealing with my own uncomfortable feelings about bats, I made a brown bat one of the heroes in my children's story Fiona the Theater Mouse. The intro illustration on this wizzle shows Fiona riding on Bart the Bat's back. See how I try to domesticate my willies? I realize deep down that every creature on the planet is valuable and loved by someone. I exaggerate my own aversion to bats here, as I have mostly learned to appreciate their positive qualities. I just don't feel I should have to live with them as house pets. I wouldn't want them to go away altogether, though. Because then I'd have to write about my aversion to . . .                                                                                                

                                                         MOSQUITOES!

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Want to know some facts about mice? Here are some questions and answers about mice that you'll enjoy reading.
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Updated: 05/16/2013, sheilamarie
 
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sheilamarie on 01/11/2013

Thanks, supermom! Bats need our help right now as they are facing many challenges. I hope you're able to set up a bat house.

supermom_in_ny on 01/10/2013

Wow! You see, you learn something new every day. This is the first time I hear about bat houses. I live in a rural area. We have bats, owls, racoons, opossums and other critters. I have seen homes for owls in the area, but not bats. I would love to get one of these and a butterfly house too. ;) Thumbs up!

sheilamarie on 08/16/2012

They really do their job! Bats can eat 100 mosquitoes an hour, or so I've read.

katiem2 on 08/16/2012

I've been noticing more and more bats since I first read this. I appreciate knowing they are eating the nasty insects that might other wise bite my kids. :)K

sheilamarie on 08/11/2012

Peggy, thanks for the story. I can just picture your cat and you with your bat visit!

sheilamarie on 08/11/2012

You're welcome, Katie. I think it's a great idea to put up a bat house! We need to encourage these creatures, especially when we realize they are working so hard for our benefit (whether they know it or not).

katiem2 on 08/11/2012

Love the bat houses, since we have so many bats flying around outside I will def be including a bat house or two on my property. Great article. I've never had a bat in the house. This was a great read thanks for reminding me of bats.

PeggyHazelwood on 08/11/2012

I had several bats come into one house. One night I woke up to my cat batting at a bat flying by my head. Creeped me out! Oh terrible! It perched on a curtain rod and I knocked it down with a broom and swept it outside. Yuck!

sheilamarie on 08/10/2012

We do have a problem with these new developments, I agree. It seems to me that the UK has taken a good step in imposing these laws, and that even for us who live elsewhere, we need to be careful before we intervene with these creatures. Some things are very delicate.

2uesday on 08/10/2012

At first I had thought the laws here was just about rare species of bats. After seeing the bats in France I took a look online and we have stricter laws than I had thought.
It is odd how the things we take for granted like the bats that do good are suddenly affected by a disease like this. There is also a problem with the bees, so it is worrying if the pollinators of crops and the insect eating bats are diminishing in numbers.


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