Tuesday, August 22, 2006
There's something stirring in the evenings here that is more noticeable than the deer. That something is bats. They are swooping down and around our small community in great numbers. One hovered over me last night on my evening walk and made several investigative passes, checking me out. My husband said that to him, with his night vision, I looked like a giant ball of energy. He finally moved on, probably realizing I was too big to be dinner.
Because they are so predominate right now, I decided to do some investigation of my own. My research revealed that bats aren't birds but instead are winged mammals. An article in the newspaper said that the mild winter just past left a large insect population, and that has attracted the Mexican free-tailed bats. Their favorite food is the corn earworm moth, but this summer they have millions of American snout butterflies to dine on in our area.
Mexican bats look creepy (especially when they decide to inspect you up close), but they protect South Texas crops from insects and their guano makes good fertilizer.
Now is the beginning of the seasonal migration of Mexican free-tailed bats from Bracken Cave, which is about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. The cave is home to the world'’s largest bat colony, estimated at between 20 and 40 million bats. The bats start leaving Bracken Cave in early August, and then usually wander the area before beginning their southward migration in October.
Here is the trick. Take a small ball, like a golf ball though a tennis ball will do in a pinch. Put it in a sock. Rub some fruit on the sock to give it an attractive smell. Then go outside after dark and toss the ball/sock into the air. When the bats swoop down to follow it, inspecting it as a dinner candidate, you can whack them with a tennis racket.
Why don't you try that?
Layman, so that's what happened to all the socks! I thought the washing machine ate them.
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