Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wild Kingdom - A Musing in 3 Parts: II

Part II: On the Consuming of Bugs

A few evenings ago, around twilight, we noticed some strange looking birds flitting around our back yard. Upon closer inspection, we realized that they're not birds at all. They were beautiful, swooping, feeding bats.

I like bats. Not enough to keep them as pets (ewwwww), but I appreciate what the can do for me. Anything that can eat its weight in mosquitoes every night is A-OK in my book. These winged mammalian hunters of the night, using an internal echolocation system that could put some of the most sophisticated military target tracking radars to shame. At once simple and complex, they are magnificent denizens of the night sky.

I immediately began to ponder ways to encourage these nocturnal visitors. I plan on some bat boxes, but need to figure out what kinds of bats they are. I also want to try and attract more food for them, but that would mean deliberately encouraging mosquitoes to come into my yard. Not a thrilling prospect.

Anyone got any ideas?

PS: I'm fully aware that bats are natural vectors for any number of zoonotic pathogens. Nasty ones too. I don't want to pet them, just encourage them to eat as many mosquitoes as they can.


Lilli said...

Bats in the belfrey.
I want to know if the third section of this three parter will be the Boy Watching by the Small Female During Recent Zoo Visit?

Adeodatus said...

Bruce Wayne had this really cool whistle to get help.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a batty idea to me.

Kris, in New England said...

Be very careful about getting near them. My boss' daughter found one flying around her room upon waking up one morning. Since bats can transmit rabies thru their saliva - and you don't really know where a trapped bat has been while you sleep - she had to go thru the full rabies shot experience.

Bats are beneficial - we have several of them in our neighborhood - but just use caution.