Meet Emily the brown long-eared bat

I have to say I am impressed by how quickly one can galvanise an animal rescue in Bude.

Sanctuary at the studio

Popped along to Wharf Studio by the canal yesterday to do some work. Sitting quietly minding my own business for once, typing away with a pleasant background of Tom Odell, productivity was shattered by some lovely Midlanders popped in asking: ‘do you know you’ve got a bat?’

I’m used to some curious questions, but this one left me stumped (excuse inadvertent cricket pun). I probably looked rather gormless but smiled and politely walked to the door where they were pointing to something above. It was indeed a furry animal of the bat variety. Struck me as unusual to see one in broad daylight, and also alone. The people told me it was a baby and it shouldn’t be there. I do know that bats are protected so thought I’d better do my bit to protect it.

What big ears you have

First thought, contact the lovely Sue Gear of Born to be Wild. Sue was on her way to Exeter but promptly sent me the number of bat rescue’s Samantha in Barnstaple. Samantha replied she was in a meeting and would get back to me ASAP. Second thought, pop next door to Three Bees and show Adele. Adele is a sucker for animals, so she was well impressed with our bat, making appropriate ‘aw’ noises.

Samantha then told me to catch the bat, with a gloved or clothed hand, and place it in a box with air holes and water. It must be said I’m not very tall, so back to Adele who is slightly taller, had a box, put some holes in, came out with a cloth and captured our bat! She’s very organised and on the ball is Adele. The fear was that Batty was vulnerable there to possible attack by gulls, etc. Neither of us knew whether this behaviour was normal, or whether the bat would prefer to roost with a colony of other bats, so we erred on the side of caution.

Anyway, Adele was a trouper.

The good news was that help was on its way. Mandy and Mark were coming in their ‘bat ambulance’ from Holsworthy. It was at this point I realised how poor I am at giving directions!

The day was becoming increasingly surreal, but these lovely people arrived, transferring our bat to carrier and taking a look at ‘the feisty one’ which sounds like something you’d call a football manager. What do you want to call her, they asked? Er … my daughter had just communicated with her friend, Emily, telling her about the bat. ‘Call it Emily’, she said, which sounded a batty name for a bat, but so be it. We had ourselves a female brown long-eared bat. How could they tell it was female, asked I, mother of 5? Sigh.

She seemed lively enough but was being taken away to be checked and weighed.

Later, Mandy and Mark kindly returned her to the spot to be released. It seems Emily was seeking boys for it is the bat breeding season. This is why she was agitated and stressed.

‘The strumpet’ said Adele.

Chances are she lost her radar while hunting for boys the previous evening, which is probably a message for women everywhere.

Anyway, if anyone needs to assist a bat, I now feel like I know the drill. Fortunately none of us was bitten (because she has some lovely teeth) but to see a bat close up was quite a privilege.

Didnt get much work done! Never mind. This was much more interesting!

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