Hey everyone, it feels like a long time since I’ve written a blog! I haven’t missed a week without posting since my blog started and I’ve been getting messages asking me to hurry up with my next instalment. I think this is really funny as I never really thought, when I set out to do this, that anyone but my family or friends would really read it!! I’m obviously really pleased that people like what I’m doing and some people have messaged me to say that my words make them look at the world in a different way, I’m blown away by that. Thank you so much.
Well this weekend was definitely one to remember as we had a very special visitor to our house. Meet ‘Squeaky’ the Pipistrelle bat who was found by a local business in town on their doorstep.
At first they thought it was a toy, but when they realised it was a live bat, they did a great job of calling the right people and gently put the bat into a ventilated box and gave it a little water. Dehydration is a big factor in bat deaths, so that is the first thing you must do, after calling for advice of course. Bats NI, called my dad who is trained and licensed to deal with bats and so he grabbed his superhero cloak and brought it home to us, to help it recuperate.
Pipistrelles are beautiful creatures, as are all bats. Did you know that bats have been around for at least 60 million years? That’s the oldest known bat fossil! Pips are the smallest of the eight bat species here in Northern Ireland, and as small as they are they eat over 3000 midges in one night! Can you imagine the billions of midges flying around without bats, I wouldn’t like to. All our bat species are small, harmless and rely solely on insects. They are beautiful creatures who are a very important part of our eco-system.
Our little Squeaky was very dehydrated still, so my dad gave it water and fed it some live mealworms. Its really important to cut the heads off the worms as they contain a toxin which gives bats a horrible bout of diarrhoea, not great for a dehydrated bat. He was really vocal but was still unable to fly and so dad kept him in a box in their bedroom, its nice and quiet there, away from bustle and noise. He was a really healthy bat though, with no mites at all. Poor dad was up half the night with the squeaks and scratches, as bats are nocturnal the night is their party time. It still didn’t want to leave the box though so we nursed it another day and we could see that it was getting a little more ‘flappy’. I just loved watching dad take care of the bat, he has done this quite a few times, but this was the longest we’d had one. Usually Catherine or Karen from Bats NI (please click the link for everything you need to know about bats/bat rescue – including contact numbers) take them to further recuperate or we can release them shortly after they have been found.
That night Squeaky was really active in the box, so dad took him into the kitchen again (we were all asleep, mum had just got back to sleep) and there it flew in circles using its echolocation to find an open window, unfortunately it missed it and flew down the back of the fridge!! It got caught in the grill at the back so dad had to completely empty the fridge, unscrew it and take it out, what a drama while we were all in slumber!
Poor mum felt so guilty when dad was telling us the story the next morning. The bad news, well, we didn’t get to say goodbye to Squeaky. The good news, it flew off to meet up with all his other batty friends and hopefully meet a girl bat and make babies!!!! Yay! Bats mate at this time of the year and so every bat rescued and released ensure the population can continue to rise. A great result.
My dad does this voluntarily, aside from his conservation scientist role (and his big role of educating us too) and he really puts his words, hopes and concerns into positive action. He is my eco hero. It was my mum’s birthday at the weekend too and she is the best bird spotter ever and a really inspirational woman. I’m so lucky to have such cool supportive parents!!
Thanks for reading