Thursday, November 25, 2010



For a few months now we have a squatter bat. In the battle of wills between the bat and us, the bat so far has won. During the day he or she likes to hang on a wooden wall in the third floor hallway. Would have no objection, except he or she, poops all over the place and I can't get the weekly cleaning lady to clean the droppings up.
I´ve tried using the garden hose, spraying with water and he flies away, but goes no futher than the second floor and settles to hanging on the wall there. The bat is very intelligent. When I come out of my computer room, he is watching me. If I or my wife reach down for the garden hose in the old nursery,he is gone in a flash. Otherwise he ignores our walking past, up and down the stairwell.
Canadian ponderings:
With great amusement, I was reading your bit about the "native wild pets" which adopted you.
I hear bats are very beneficial, they will eat up to 1000 mosquitoes every hour after dark. (Of course the fruit and vampire bats are a different story, you just have to attract the right kind).
You are right, they are very intelligent. I love these smart little creatures. Some years ago, when I got fed up with the stinging bugs, I put up a bat house at my barn. Every night, when I go out at dusk to close up the barn, they accompany me all the way back to the house. Often there are dozens of them flapping around me, seemingly saying good night Open-mouth smile.
I must say that the mosquito situation has much improved since I got the bat house.

My suggestion for you is if you don't want that bat in your house, provide appropriate lodging for it (and it's friends which are out there) on the outside on one of your buildings, preferably on the north side and under an overhang of the roof. They do not like to be baked in the midday sun when they are sleeping. This probably explains why your little friend prefers your hallway to sleep the days away at, which is presumably a cooler environment than whatever else is available outside. The bats won't pay you rent, but will reward you with a near bug free environment.
It is a great blessing to have the creatures around, especially in a country like Belize (the Switzerland of the Americas) which is plagued by malaria and dengue fever. I think that everyone in Belize should have a bat house or two close to their dwelling to give some competition to the caves of Belize as bat dwellings - nature will work in your favour if you let her!
Here is a website with some bat house building instructions, if you would be so inclined as to get yourself one:
You can use any kind of scrap wood available, but don't forget to staple some sort of mesh, like screening or hardware cloth, on the inside surfaces for the little guys to hold onto, some hardwoods can be quite slippery and they don't like to fall off in their sleep.

As tarantulas go, I have a question: you are mentioning plate size - what diameter are we talking about???
When I was working in the pet shop we had cute little ones, like the size of my palm or smaller. I was the only one brave enough to pick them up for the purpose of showing them to prospective customers. The are creepy looking by human standards, but on closer examination they display an eerie exotic beauty.

Another question comes to mind: how do the tourists react to these "pets" coming into the buildings?
Here in Canada people would be hysteric about that. In the newspaper I read periodically of a pet tarantula or a pet boa constrictor getting lost in a high-rise buildings ducts and people are becoming so worked up over it that it makes the front page of a major paper.
If they would inform themselves, they would find out that these animals are completely harmless.

On the other hand - the eco tourists you get over there are probably much more relaxed and informed than the silly city people in Toronto.
Boy, I can't wait until I get to visit Belize next year.


No comments: