A mystery visitor sneaked into the bedroom during the night. Our dog, Molly, heard it first and her restlessness awakened my wife and I. There was a rustling at the window, but I thought it was either a bird or a bat on the outside fluttering against the glass. A bird would have been unusual but we have plenty of pipistrelle bats. I concluded that that would the most likely cause of the sound.
It was nearly 3.30 am and as my alarm was set for 3.40 am in any case (I like an early start at the National Wildlife Crime Unit) I jumped – well that’s maybe journalistic licence – out of bed to let Molly out before I had a shower and the first breakfast of the day.
When I was out in the garden with Molly I could see a bat flying between the curtains and the partially-open bedroom window. A bat was now confirmed as the intruder.
When Molly had finished her garden patrol we returned to the bedroom. I switched the light on, to complaints from a lightly snoozing wife. I explained that a bat was visiting us (not the first time) but when I pulled the curtains I was surprised that it was a brown long-eared bat. I’d forgotten how big they are and got many close-up views as it flew round and round the bedroom, strangely favouring quite low level. It was a lovely wee beastie, with shiny fur, paper-thin wings and the very long ears that give the creature its name. I am still wary of handling live bats of any sort without gloves just in case of a bite that leads to rabies. I picked up a pipistrelle years ago that was in the police locker room at Perth Police Station. For all the size of it, it bit my hand and drew blood, so that was warning enough.
In any case with the BLE bat the easy solution was simply to open the window. After two further circuits it sensed the fresh air and was gone. It was a lovely experience. Pity about the hour of day!