Posted: Wednesday 29 August 2012
by Richard Jones

“It’s either a really big moth, or there’s a bat in the bedroom,” So I was woken from deep sleep into the deep blackness of our French holiday gite, just over a week ago.

Bat droppings

“It’s either a really big moth, or there’s a bat in the bedroom.” So I was woken from deep sleep into the deep blackness of our French holiday gite, just over a week ago. There was definitely something fluttering back and forth across the room. It was making a soft rustling almost rattling sound, a bit like when the wind blows through the slats of Venetian blinds in the deserted buildings portrayed in spooky films. For a moment I thought it sounded a bit like a dragonfly.
A fumble for the bed-side light switch later and the culprit was obvious — a small bat looping around the low-ceilinged room in a vague triangular path, presumably trying to get its bearings. It was really hot that day, and although we’d pulled the shutters closed against the mosquitoes, we’d left the windows open for any breeze on offer. I guess the bat had crawled in through the gap, less than 15mm it looked, where the shutters did not quite meet the windowsill.
It was tiny, probably the common pipistrelle, and it seemed as confused and disorientated in the darkness as we were. I ducked over to the window and opened the shutters up, but my naked Chiroptera shooing was pretty pathetic; despite my enthusiastic arm-waving, it seemed unable to take the hint.
By now we’d turned out the lamp, hoping that it would be attracted to the open window. But it continued zigzagging about; it even appeared to be trying to get through the door to the 7-year-old’s bedroom, which was slightly ajar, and backlit by a soft glow from his nightlight. My flailings were not doing much, apart from causing some mild amusement. It definitely did not seem to know how to get out of the dark window, all it wanted to do was head towards the light.
Although this seemed to us contrary to ‘normal’ bat behaviour, it also occurred to us that a light might actually lure it back outside. It would take to-the-second timing, but a plan was put into operation. I quickly wrenched open the door, dashed in and snatched up the glowing nightlight off son’s mantelpiece, bundled myself back through the door, and put the light onto the stone sill. Without hesitation the bat was gone. It was all very peculiar.
Each night I saw three of four bats swooping about outside the gite. They all made that same soft fluttering sound. They were roosting under the eaves close to our bedroom window, a fact easily determined by the speckling on fresh bat droppings left at the top of the stone steps there. But only that one bat ever took a wrong turning, and squeezed in through the wrong crack.

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Warthog 29/08/2012 at 11:50

Happened to me once staying in a friend's house near Dover, woke to feel a draught every few minutes on my face. Stupidly what I did was open the bedroom door, so it flew through there and then had the whole house to play with! Getting a bit of help from the others staying there, we eventually cornered it in the toilet and I picked it up, still remember the feel of its tiny claws clutching my fingers. And yes, I know I shouldn't have done but I wasn't up in bat protection in those days.

janeyliz 29/08/2012 at 19:39

We have had this happen twice..once the bat flew in just like moths do, it took us ages to waft it out..they seem quite big while flying round your head!The second time our cat brought it in-unharmed- goodness knows how he caught it. It proceedeto make itself comfortable on the curtain pole. Luckily my husband was able to catch it and put it outside.I know they are protected but I don't like them..the windows are firmly closed whatever the weather now as soon as I see them flying around outside

CAROL ELLIOT 29/08/2012 at 23:34

I live in a built up area and most nights, when warm, the bats fly around at dusk eating flies and mosquitos

Dovefromabove 30/08/2012 at 07:42

One warm evening last summer, just after we'd moved into this house and garden, I lay on the lawn for about an hour, with bats swooping just above me - it was amazing watching them 

Bookertoo 30/08/2012 at 19:17

There aes ome old buildings near us and we often see bats in the evenings.  I have put out bat boxes in the hope they might like to live with us, but so far they are - probably wisely - happier where they are.

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