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Bats flying into things?

Posted by Reg_PNW7 WA 7, sunset 4 (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 29, 05 at 20:40

Hopefully someone here will know something beyond the basic info on bats. I'm visiting my aunt in upstate NY and she gets bats in the house. At first I thought no problem, they don't fly into things so nothing to worry about. But I was sitting up reading in a large room where the bats get into and saw one fly into a hanging plant and fall to the floor and start to crawl around and squeak.

Why do bats fly into things when they have sonar? I also heard one fly repeatedly into the wall.

Once on the floor can't they get airborn again? there were 4 bats involved in this incident and I didn't see one manage to take flight once on the floor. I caught three and threw them into the trees outside the door, but I distinctly heard two of them fall through all the branches and land on the ground, where I'm sure the cats got them. One seemed nearly dead anyway, I think it had been inside for at least two nights without food, but one at least was still in good shape and should have been able to take flight.

When I turn on the lights the bats stop flying and settle on whatever's closest. Surely light doesn't interfere with their sonar?

According to Bat Conservation it's mainly lost juveniles that get into houses but June seems too soon for young ones to be flying in upstate NY, and 4 at once seems like a lot of bats!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bats flying into things?

It sounds like your aunt has bats in her attic and they are getting into the house on accident and then can't find their way back out. They can be excluded by covering their exit hole with hardware cloth that has been left open at the bottom so they can leave, but can't get back in. June is baby season though, so please don't do this until August. Otherwise the babies left behind will starve to death. Meanwhile...

Bats primarily use their sonar when hunting, and they don't recognize a wall as an object even if they do use it as there is no "edge" to it. Being inside really messes with their navigation. Light does not bother them as such, they just know if it's light they can be seen - and possibly preyed on.

When a bat has been grounded, they need help getting air born. Bats take off by falling - it takes about 5 feet of clearance for a good take off.

If you find anymore FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT - don't touch them with your bare hands. They odds are very good that there is nothing to worry about, but you don't need to be taking chances. If a bat has been known to come into direct contact with a human it has to be destroyed and tested for rabies. So please use gloves (or a towel)!

Second don't 'toss' it. They need time to regain their orientation. Place the bat on a cloth (not terry type towels though) and hang the cloth from a branch with nothing under it for at least five feet. If you can't reach such a branch, you can thumbtack the cloth to the trunk of the tree as high as you can reach. The bat may not take off right away but leave it alone for a while and it will be OK. They will repay you buy eating many skeeters in your area :).

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