Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bat houses

I bought Hubs a bat house, and while I am not the sort to want a pet bat AT ALL, I am eager to have bats around, for several reasons. We had a couple of bat houses mounted outside the apartment where we lived right after we got married, because we had a serious mosquito problem outside there. It was miserable because I got bites every time I went out, to get the mail or walk to the bus stop, and bats would have helped. Bats love tasty mosquito snacks! We left those bat houses behind when we moved, hoping that the apartment maintenance guys would recognize what they were and leave them, but no - of course not.

Anyway, I've wanted to get more bat houses since then but haven't been able to find them until I saw some made here, locally, when I was searching etsy. My second reason for wanting bat houses - and bats - is that Hubs thinks they are really cool. That's excellent unless he wants me to pet the baby bat (he tried this once when we were dating - I declined). I like to watch bats as long as they keep my distance. The bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, flying out at sunset, are more my style. But the bat houses would be interesting for Hubs, and the kids would likely enjoy the whole thing. Big Girl is already intrigued by the bat house we bought yesterday.

So, the single bat house I bought is great, but I would love to have more, and beyond that I think it would be great for my dad to put some up on the side of the barn and encourage bats to take up residence there. My aunt would FREAK (and I would laugh - because while I'm a bit skittish about bats, she's far beyond that and would be afraid of the bats banding together and conspiring against her or something), but I think it would be great to have them there to help with mosquitoes and provide a good habitat for them. From the reading I've done, I know that good habitats are hard for bats to find, particularly with regular logging and forest management taking out trees where they might live, and I'm in favor of making my environment as friendly to its natural inhabitants as possible.

So, after that long-winded diatribe... I got the bug to find plans for a bat house online, and it looks fairly straightforward. Hubs is busy with school stuff at the moment, and I have surgery next week, but perhaps I can get Hubs and my dad on board for this project in a month or two. This page from the National Wildlife Federation has a great first-person narrative about a woman who built her own bat house, and she really clears up a lot of misconceptions - now I know why bat houses should be placed on poles or buildings, not trees, and why they should be painted dark colors. She used the Economy Bat House Plans from Bat Conservation International, which I'll likely try as well. I also found another site with plans, but I think I should try the simple route first.

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