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The bat house came down


We took down the bat house that I’d erected five years ago. It stood on two hinged posts that would let the house gain the height it needed when the posts were swiveled end-to-end vertically. It was a large flat box mounted vertically, with several sandwich layers inside that should have provided plenty of room for hundreds of bats. It was well-built, and had not appreciably deteriorated in its time, but bats are finicky creatures with brains the size of a pea, and they never took a liking to it. I think it was because bats usually need a house at least 5 meters off the ground, so they can free-fall out of the bottom of the house and then take flight. The problem was that the palmetto trees had grown up thickly around the posts that held up the bat house, and any bats exiting the house would fall into the palmetto fronds. Also, even though it was painted a light color, the house probably got quite hot in the sun during the day when bats sleep, so I doubt that would have been comfortable for them.

It was a worthy experiment that failed. We took it down in time to have the garbagemen take the bat house away, and I took apart the posts, dug them out of the ground, and used them to shore up the sagging fence in the back yard. So that was worthwhile.

During the bat house’s deconstruction, we asked a neighbor to help. He did, willingly. We took out the pins holding the posts erect and let it slowly swivel down so that it was resting on the ground. But somehow, as I unscrewed the brackets that held the heavy bat house on its posts, one side torqued and whipped the other side’s post downward into our neighbor’s head. He saw it coming and managed to deflect it so that it only struck his head a glancing blow, but it still hurt, and he hurt his thumbs as he deflected it.

Luckily he wasn’t injured badly, just a scrape on the head and some sore thumbs. We were very lucky, as was he. Today we repaid the favor and helped him move some very heavy rock and concrete. So hopefully we’re somewhat even.

We won’t be able to build another bat house because there’s no place where it’s shady or tall enough for them to reside. But they’ll certainly figure out other places to live. We see them all the time.

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