Timothée Corre, a sports teacher in Strasbourg, was surprised to discover a bat under his bed. “She was sticking out of bed and I was folding laundry, I thought I had dropped a sock.” Why did that bat land there? What if this happens to you? Here are the answers (first published in 2019).
It was in July, it was hot and that partly explains what follows. “Hello, I just found this baby bat under the bed… I don’t know how to help him: he’s all cuteI dare not touch it.” You can find everything, and even this call for help concerning a bat, on the Facebook group Étudiants de Strasbourg. It was published there by Timothée Corre on the morning of July 4, 2019.
Contacted by France 3 Alsace, the 25-year-old sports teacher tells how the discovery took place: “It surprised me, but it’s very small: it’s not scary. She was sticking out of bed and I was folding laundry, I thought I had dropped a sock…”
“OMG [ Oh my God, c’est à dire “Oh mon Dieu” en anglais ; ndlr] ! But I find a bat under my bed, I don’t start my message with “Hello”!” The post sparked some irrational reactions, like this one, from a certain Allyson. Others suggested (ironically, hopefully) eating the bat.
There is no need to be afraid of bats, and it is clearly inadvisable to think about eating them: “It is a protected and endangered species”, recalls Camille Fahrner, from the wildlife mediation center of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO). We had already contacted her about foxes.
The LPO explains to us how this bat could have ended up in this incongruous place. “There are a lot of bats in Strasbourg: they are often pipistrelles. But it’s not normal to find one during the day.”
“It can be an adult who has been injured, or a young man who missed his flightshe continues. In these two cases, you have to call the LPO and send us images so that we know if we are dealing with an adult or a baby. For Alsace, simply write to [email protected] or dial 03 88 22 07 35. For the rest of France, you can find all the necessary contacts on the national website of the LPO (PDF). Advice and contacts are also listed on the SOS Bat website.
It is preferable not to act alone before having contacted the LPO to “avoid complications”. If it is a young bat, as is the case here, the LPO will try to intervene remotely, giving advice and explaining its method of releasing it into the wild. Otherwise, she will intervene.
Timothy did this. He released his bat (nicknamed Barnabas) at dusk: he filmed it (video below). The video cuts before take-off, but rest assured, “lots of cats in the neighborhood” she flew well.
Waiting for the night or for advice, it is possible to place (with gloves) the bat in a box, in the shade and safe : your cat shouldn’t come and eat this poor bat.
To prevent dehydration, you can place a small bowl of water in the box. Make sure it is not too big: the bat could drown in it. No need to feed him.
If a single bat has deliberately perched in your home (we’re not talking about the baby lost under the bed), don’t believe that your interior is unsanitary. It’s just that it’s cooler there than outside (especially during a heat wave). Open the windows when night falls, and she will find her own way outward after an hour or two.
If it’s a whole colony that has settled in your roof… congratulations, you have a very good roof. Bats only nest in places that meet very specific criteria. “The females come there with their young to establish nurseries”explains Camille Fahrner.
Brilliant, you will say, but not sure that neighborhood relations with these new tenants are in good shape, are they? Camille Fahrner denies, recalling that these mammals are not a vector of danger or disease. “And in addition, they repel mosquitoes !”
In terms of noise: “Not impossible that there are some, but these are only low squeaks : nothing to do with a marten frolicking in the attic at night.” And in terms of dirt, Camille Fahrner has a good plan: “Their droppings, called guano, make great fertilizer for the garden.”
Some ladies (and gentlemen) might fear the bat in question clinging to their long hair, according to a tenacious legend. What Camille Fahrner formally denies: “This is a myththey don’t do that! And if it has to happen, it’s because they didn’t do it on purpose.”
We are far from the movie scene Jumanji (video below) where this poor Sarah Whittle is attacked by a whole swarm of bats…
As for the fact that they feed on blood, you can also reassure yourself: there is no blood-sucking bats. Not in France, anyway…
Pipistrelles are particularly fond of Strasbourg and its surroundings because of the presence of old houses (half-timbered, shutters). “Bats love itcomments Camille Fahrner. But with the renovations, the construction of new buildings… they find less and less places to shelter.”
You too can participate in saving bats (it’s a good way to protect yourself from mosquitoes) by making a bat nest box.