Just before lights out a couple of nights ago, I was enjoying a quiet read (and it wasn’t a comic or Bram Stoker’s famous novel) when from the corner of my eye I thought I caught a movement. A quiet invader fluttered in above the bed and then out again. I followed its shadowy, erratic movement through the kitchen, grabbing a clove of garlic and a wooden stake just in case it was needed, before losing sight of the creature in the darkness. Having thoroughly searched the house I went back to bed.
The next night the creature made its appearance again, flying straight at my wife’s head before turning at the last second. She screamed and demanded I open the windows and chase the thing out of the house. No!, said I, not until I get a photo for our blog! I left her to manage the situation while I went to hunt for my camera, allowing her to hide in another room when I returned.
The creature turned out to be a very small bat, a microbat, with a body about the size of a mouse. Die Fledermaus looked pretty harmless, but before catching it to release it outdoors, I took the usual precaution of using a cloth to cover it gently and restrain it. Just as well, I hate being bitten, and this microbat has a great set of teeth.
I’m calling this bat the ‘Lesser Long – eared Bat’ (Nyctophilus geoffroyi ) unless there is someone out there who wants to identify it as a Gould’s Long-eared Bat. The LLeB is pretty common around our area and forages low for insects, even taking them off the ground. It is a great aerialist, navigating well despite poor eyesight, with the use of echo location and a great set of ears.
Around this time of year, mating occurs resulting in twins (frequently) born around October/November. The young can fly in a couple of months and as bats are mammals, they are nursed until around February. Get outside around dusk and watch these mammals in action. Linger longer and take in the brilliant stars of our Autumn evenings.