There is a bat in my house. I am certain there are many bats around my house, but this one is cold and weak and living in the pail that I use to haul water out to the chickens. Really this isn’t a problem. I have been combatting field mice who find their way into the house through the 150 year old rubble foundation. The mise I am merciless with. They are pests plain and simple. I know how to manage that. I have a rabbit loose out of her warren and am currently trying to lure her back into a humane trap even as I type. The bat is a new thing. I know a little bit about bats. I know they are incredibly beneficial (unlike their evolutionary cousins those mice) and that are woefully misunderstood and in danger. But what I know is not enough for me to determine what the proper, humane treatment or what ecosystem to provide for this animal. That has me perplexed.

I talk a lot about how I manage ecosystems and that I am the alpha chicken, duck, rabbit, fish (and mouse). But for all my bravado I also do care for the welfare of these animals. They are not pets and I do not anthropomorphize them, but I do know their needs, afflictions, habits, and peculiarities. And I have built systems around them. But bats are – in my imagination – on autopilot for six months of the year. I KNOW intellectually that they are probably nesting in the back attic where there is a squirrel hole or something. In the spring and summer I provide bat boxes and there is plenty of insect food. But when you find a bat awake, alive, and cold in your house – and it’s winter – you have to ask yourself, Now What? So I have it in a box, close to the fireplace. I have some live crickets I can feed it and a thimble of water. I’ll keep it happy and nurse it back to health until I can figure out what to do next. Next step: Google. Then I’ll go check my humane trap with the kale and the timothy grass out back by the fruit trees. Hopefully there’s a rabbit in there and I know how to manage that.

Also, if you have any tips for humanely finding a safe ecosystem for bats in the winter, hit me up! I am willing to learn and know that I can’t be an expert on everything.

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