The stories of "there's a bat in the house" don't seem to come up as often as they used to. It's late at night and you’re snuggled in a green dream of you in the garden. Then you are suddenly awaken by the flutter of wings above your head. You reach for the light switch knowing there will be a little brown bat flying around the bedroom.
If you are like many people, you may panic and hit the floor, peeking up over the edge of the bed. You may think that if you stand, the bat will attack you or accidentally fly into you. In reality the bat, along with his sensitive abilities, can probably see better than you can. He knows you're there and wouldn't fly into you for any reason, including having no reason to attack you.
There are still some of us who would start looking for a weapon to hit the bat with. A broom, shirt, towel, or tennis racket would often do the job. Thankfully though, there are many of us who have learned safer ways to get the bat out of the house. By opening a door or a window, the bat can then follow the air current to the outside. This way there's no chance of coming in contact with the little brown bat and he'll be safely on his way, no harm done. With a sigh of relief you can go back to bed and once again enter your world of dreams.
Bats are some of nature's most gifted animals, having the ability to fly without having feathers. Not only can they fly with speed and the agility to catch flying insects in mid-air, but also use a sophisticated sonar to guide them around objects in the dark. They can quickly dart around tree limbs in total darkness while they hunt. They utter a rapid squeaking sound (50 times per second), which bounces off obstacles and insects and is relayed back to them. These echoes quickly enable the bat to catch its prey.
They roost during the daylight hours, hanging upside down in a cave, hollow tree, under some bark or in a small crevice in the attic, garage or barn. Most any place where they can stay cool and dry during the day.
Last night, just after sunset, I did what I often do. I sat out on the back porch and took in some wonderful night air. The purple phlox was in bloom and I noticed a couple beautiful hawk moths hovering among the blossoms. Also flying about low over the garden was a little brown bat. All of a sudden, the bat swooped up over the phlox and snatched one of the moths out of the air. It happened so quickly that I wasn't sure what I had seen but after ten minutes of watching the flowers only one moth was present.
The night air was warm and heavy and the moon, with its golden halo, illuminated an evening mood. Without it's brilliant glow I would never have seen the bat and the hawk moth interact with nature's intent.
Bless the moth, for it pollinates the lovely flowers which give their nutritious nectar in return. Bless the bats for they keep the cycle of life intact and provide for their young. This is their only true mission in life, to ensure future generations a place on earth.
The brown bat is an often misunderstood animal who may receive criticism more often than praise. Their lives in the dark go unnoticed by most, leaving doubt to their usefulness. This proves once again that we fear most what we have not learned, leaving us forever in the dark.
The bat challenges us to take a closer look to see how they play an important role in the cycle of life in this precious and delicate natural world we live in.
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