The Tale of the Little Brown Bat

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Below is a letter sent out in 2010 by one of our regular commenters Anon Forrest to a group of friends. We share it with permission in hopes you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

Dear Friends:

Today was a very special day, as most moments in the woods are.

I was coming in the mud room door with the first load of fire wood for the day when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a little brown bat with a little scraped shin and a little mouthful of woe.

The house is blessed with Little Brown Bats, waves of colonies, on, in, and under it. The main family group is no longer distinguishable from the side families, as once they were. They care for each other. The babies hit on all and any lactating mothers, and the mothers accept all comers. The ill or injured adults of the colony are fed without flying out to find forage for themselves. They care for each other.

Usually, the autumn babies make their first flight out in the December twilight, and usually, they make it through the first gauntlet of adventures and return to the Mother colony. And sometimes they don’t.

This little waif didn’t. Trying hard to look like an enraged leaf, it screamed at me in silence as it prepared to meet its destiny.

Destiny turned out to be a red wool cap. Peeling back the knit-and-pearls, a phone call to my dearest counsel, Dr. Plum, gave advice; and it was good. With only the scrape exposed, and no broken bones visible, a strong anti-biotic was Q-tipped applied. The “fuselage” was inspected for punctures and White Spot fungus.

All was well.

But by this time, the Red Wool Cap had become sanctuary for the terrorized little soul. Being conned into further trauma was NOT on its agenda. Thoughts of feeding live food to the little one (while not putting it on the Kitties’ Menu) danced in my head. Negatory.

Out on the porch, I aimed it at the hole I knew to be its access, and let go. Tiny teeth embedded in my glove, it growled at me to GO AWAY! Clearly we’d reached an impasse. So the glove went in the hole with little bat in tow. An extremely high pitched bat-style Wagnarian chorus kicked in , and the glove was withdrawn. All was well. Still is.

From my rafters to yours: Let Freedom Ring! Good Yule.

Anon Forrest



  • I love bats. You want to see a bunch, try the old State Theatre in Indianola….I think there was one under every shingle on the building when I worked there. The janitors would get on the roof at dawn to see them all fly in…

  • My ex had a bat in his attic apartment. I told him we should try to get it out because it would starve if we didn’t.

    He said, “She gets out when she wants to. She just loves me.”

    How do you know it’s a she?

    “She came in through the bathroom window.”

    And, so it was.

    Personally, I am very happy for this story because, other than the bathroom window bat, I have only ever come upon them when it was too late, needing to move their poor corpses, hardly heavier than butterflies, from the walkway after they’d somehow missed their entry under the eaves.

    Every one of them is a boon to mosquito magnets like me, so thank you, thank you, Anon Forest, for saving one for us all.

  • Great for mosquito control, shine a light straight up in a clearing and bats handle the job.

    • Better for mosquitos is aquarium,net covered,healthy algae,not waste fed or petro wealth runoff.they,preferring healthy algae(chlorella).fat nympths,fly,and stop eating alga.and die,perfectly formed if they are fed a drop of blood,to reproduce,you’d have much trout food,derived from an inlandsea deposit of phytoplankton..bat will help mosquito,by weeding out the weaklings,kill coyote,enhances breeding,killing solo male that controls haram,or wives.I tell children,don’t touch bats(vampire)they must be considered rabid.I tell illiterate people rabies doesn’t effect bats,but is incurable in human.unlike common diabetes and arthritis.the mosquito builds raft of 100 eggs with blood meal,two without.they will bombard their eggs through a net,if alga smells good.I bought horned lizards,venagrios,weird bugs and solid steal cannonballs,centuries old spurs.

      • I get that…

        My property in Hayfork has a low flow spring fed Creek. Tons of bugs all summer because it’s green in the brown. A stoplight pointed up gets dozens of bats flying the clearing. Hang by the portable wood stove and never get a bug bite, go to a neighbor property and they swim in deet.
        Also have tons of frogs and lizards around.
        Thought about crawdads doing the algae thing in pond liners.
        Pretty clean water, but bears make a berkey money well spent.
        Can grow softball sized beets with woody woodpecker peeking behind trees.
        Toyotas have taxed the flow and cut down hella trees.

        • Make your crawdads red with astaxanthin,from,common haematococcus algae,fed the nutritional elements,from batguano,maybe.

  • As someone who had the exciting experience of a series of rabies shots in their finger, avoid, or be very very careful (didn’t practice what I preached!), handling downed bats. Leave them alone if you find a roost, they do a world of good. Send money to Bat Conservation International, they are good too.

    ps – Little brown bats are much cuter than the bat in the photo 😉

  • Anon Forrest—Good save 5 years ago, and a good story still. I like your writing style and appreciation for nature. (Bless the little bat.)

  • Haha that was great.eeww yuk bats!!!

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