Monday, July 26, 2010

Back to the Bat Cave!

Looking back, I see that it's just over a year since my last encounter with Myotis lucifugus, aka the little brown bat, which, Wikipedia assures me, is "one of the most common bats of North America." Certainly it's getting to be pretty common around our house. This is our third confirmed encounter with M. lucifugus; we likely had a member of the species in the attic a few years ago, but left the attic door closed in the hope--apparently realized--that whatever was up there would find his way back out again. (See last year's adventure, "Waking with the...Bats?")

Today's encounter was strange, and mysterious. As befits bats, I suppose. My wife came upstairs as I was working late this afternoon to inform me that she had done a load of laundry and that as the water drained from the laundry sink (it's an old house, 90-some years old, and the basement floor drain is too small to handle the output of a draining washing machine, so we have the washing machine drain into a laundry sink whence gravity takes it away at a pace that prevents backing up into the laundry room) she could see "someone" in the water--someone small, with round little ears, who may or may not still be among the living.

I investigated, and found a waterlogged little bat in the corner of the near-empty sink.

As previously expressed, I actually find the critters kind of cute. Outside. After all, that's where they best can do their insect-devouring thing, which I appreciate. So I scooped this little guy up into a small box that my wife provided, the better to take him out to a shady corner of the yard, where he either would recover from his ordeal or, you know, not. He did scrabble around a bit in the box as I headed outside, so he had some life in him at least. And he nudged himself around a little when I tipped him out under some leafy bushes, so perhaps all is not lost for the little guy. I did my Francis of Assisi bit; the rest is up to him.

Having left my Blackberry on the desk upstairs, I was unable to grab a picture of the small intruder. So I'll recycle the one I found online when I last wrote about the critters:

We are left with the small mystery of what the little bloke was doing in the basement. Previous episodes saw them gaining entry through the attic, which is logical. Last year's encounter, in our first-floor bedroom, seemed likely to have been facilitated by an ill-fitting window screen. But the basement. To be sure, the little brown bat is pretty darn little and can slip through an impossibly tiny-looking crack, so maybe this adventurous fellow wormed into the basement and couldn't find his way back out again. Or maybe he came in via the chimney. Or the furnace exhaust pipe. It's possible that he made his way from the attic to the basement, but I suspect we--the human beings who occupy the house, or the felines--would have been aware of his travels in that case.

And yet, who knows? All kinds of stuff can go on in your own house while you're sound asleep.

However  he may have ended up there, I suspect that he was in the sink and not in the washing machine. For one thing, if he had somehow managed to get into the washing machine, I imagine the various wash-rinse-spin cycles would probably have done him in. And, tiny as he is, I think he might still have been too big for the drain outlet. So I'm guessing he either was in the sink and got caught in the deluge or, since my wife did not notice him there as she was loading the machine, he might have climbed up into the curved pipe that carries water from the washing machine to the sink, in which case he'd've been rudely flushed out of the pipe as soon as the machine started to drain, and obviously unable to fly or climb away.

Poor guy. I hope he lives. Mostly so he can tell his fellow bats to stay the heck out of the house!

1 comment:

MCM Voices said...

We too had a run-in with M. lucifugus - just last night. I was awakened not by the bat but by my cell phone - the kids were calling me from the safety of the dining room to ask me to come and get the bat out of the living room! A few minutes later the little creature was back at work in the great outdoors. No idea how this one got into the house but, since our place is also about 90 years old, there must be all too many ways. I'll bet your guy recovered and is back to eating its 60 insects per hour.