Have you ever held a bat?

Our girls have gone back to school after a month and a half of being on holiday. So the days have been hectic again! Getting up at 5am, getting the girls and yourself ready and leaving the house at 6h45.The nights are hectic too. Fetching the girls after a full day at work, dinner, bathing and then covering the stream of books coming home every day for our eldest. Getting the girls to bed by 7pm has been a pipe dream and it’s more like 8pm.

So it’s 19h45 and they are ready for bed. They are in bed and I am tucking them in when my Hubby walks in. He slowly places an opaque container in front of my face. I can see something squirming inside the container, and it’s big! Instinctively I think it’s a baboon spider (it’s like a South African version of a tarantula) and I feel my body tense slightly. Before I can ask him what it is he says “It’s a bat!”

I relax immediately and the feeling of trepidation changes to excitement. I am not afraid of spiders but I can’t help feeling a bit on edge around them. “A bat, seriously?” I squeal. “Come girls, let’s go and have a look at him!” I say. The girls launch out of bed and we go to the kitchen. After coaxing the dogs inside, we shut the kitchen door and open up the container. The bat is bigger than I expected and we all stroke his back. His dark grey fur is extremely soft like the fur behind a cat’s ear. And he is a good looking bat, no weird nose or anything.

Stroking him is not enough for me, as I adore bats. So I pick him up. He is quick and quite nimble. He softly walks over my hands. The girls both want to hold him, but can’t quite get their heads around it, so neither of them does. I notice the poor thing has bat lice on him. They look different to any lice I have seen. I want to help him and take them off him, but I am afraid that I might damage his wings, wings that are as soft as satin.

“How did you catch him?” I ask my Hubby. “I was in the kitchen” he said “and heard this weird screeching. So I went outside and Gypsy (our Staffie cross) backed away from the drain in the courtyard, and there he was! As she backed away the bat flew in the air, but not very high and came back down. So I caught him in the container.”

So we put him on the ground and he scurries off. But that is it, he does not fly. Now I know, if we just leave him, the cats or dogs are just going to catch him. So what can we do? Eventually we decide to put him in our bird sanctuary as it has a fence around it so neither the dogs or cats can get in there. He is clambering up my shirt so I put him on the bark of the Camphor tree and he finally looks comfortable. He walks up it a bit and takes a rest, up a bit more and the beautiful creature turns around and looks at all of us for a solid minute. Then he turns around and starts back up the tree again until eventually he disappears into the darkness.

I adore the creatures of the night! They are so gentle and shy. I feel really lucky to have been able to help one of them.

Bat on Hand


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