We received a frantic call from a friend here in Puerto Vallarta at dusk the other evening. A bat had flown in the bedroom window of our single female friend and she was terrified. This time of year, bats are in generous supply and as this bat swooped and glided around, doing most of its acrobatics close to the ceiling, our friend stooped and kneeled, doing most of hers near the floor. With an occasional shriek, and demands for instructions on how to deal with the flying mammal, she managed to crawl/scramble to her bodegita for a broom. She reentered the bedroom just as the bat flew out the window into the darkness of night.
We explained she should be thankful; the bat most likely had come in for a little before-dinner snack; she needn’t spray her room with toxic chemicals to get rid of mosquitoes that plague her when she’s trying to sleep.
What should one do if a bat visits? First, it’s very important to know that it’s illegal to kill a bat. They are useful and eat insects, other than mosquitoes, that are harmful to humans. This is one end of the feeding chain and Darwin was right about this.
Turn on all the lights; bats are nocturnal and don’t like brightness. Open all the windows and doors. In the case of our panicky friend, this worked without even trying; the bat exited the same way she came in. The broom is not the dumbest idea but please keep in mind that bats have fragile wing structures. Their bones are very delicate and if you whack it, while trying to shoo it out, you could do severe damage. If you have the courage, use a large bowl or jar, and once the bat has exhausted itself, trap it and cap the lid. Outside, remove the cover and step aside. The bat won’t bite you unless you grab at it and you’re not likely to do that.
We know someone who tried catching a bat with a blanket but that turned out badly; she asphyxiated the poor thing and it wasn’t quite itself when she released it. She let it go only to suffer the fate of the neighborhood cats.
Bats in Puerto Vallarta are harmless. They eat insects and fruit and we’ve never heard of one being caught in anyone’s hair; that’s another silly myth. We have many that live in a huge fig tree outside our casa and we’re honored to have them as helpful neighbors.
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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