Background Switcher (Hidden)

A New Bat: Meet Drusilla

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

There's a new bat in town. 

I think she's this year's pup. She's the smallest big brown bat I've ever seen. 
She was found on Halloween, hanging on a curtain high up inside the Marietta (OH) Riverside Artist's Cooperative gallery by a member named Todd. 

Todd picked her up in a washcloth and brought her home in a coffee can. He tried to feed her but she wasn't interested. He posted about her on Facebook and a bunch of people jumped on him and told him to get in touch with me. I made sure Todd knew that you have to wear gloves when handling a bat. Not just washcloths. I wanted to get that bat away from him. In retrospect, I'm glad I did.

So I drove into town and picked her up. From the start she was different. First, she was tiny, and I was sure she was this year's baby. Second, she never stopped cussing while being handled. 

She even cussed the whole time she ate. And third, she bit. She bit my glove. A lot. And now, as of late November as I'm writing this, she's biting even more, and she's decidedly un-fun to handle. She's about got me bamboozled. She's a real pill. But she doesn't self-feed, so she needs to be handled just long enough to be fed a few worms, then put away again.

So I named her Drusilla, which matches her witchy personality well. And I decided that she would spend as much of her winter as possible in the cold garage, hibernating between towels in a covered tank.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to let her go. But since Halloween there has not been a single night above 50 degrees, and bats can't summon the energy to fly until it's consistently 55 and above at night. So releasing a young bat on a cold night when it couldn't fly to find a suitable roost would be contraindicated.

Chewing on a worm. Drusilla weighs 17.5 gm, which is on the light side, and I mean to keep her lean and, I guess, mean.  She hung nicely in the cold garage for two straight weeks when we went to Texas, not eating. Then ate well for a day or two when we came home. She's hanging up now for a spell, until the next warmish night when I see moths flying. I'll take her out, feed and water and weigh her, and hang her out again. It's as close to nature as I can get. I don't intend to let her get fat like Stella and Mirabel did. Bless their sweet little hearts. 

Next: A Drusilla video, featuring the ever-gentlemanly Chet Baker.


Now, see, that last line was just a tease. A pure tease!

I know you have had your rabies shot, and I bet Chet has too! Still, I would not want Drucilla to bite either one of you. Stay safe!

Kathy in Delray Beach

Great! I'm so glad the bat has found a good protector for the winter. :)

She just prefers to be a real handful.

Oh boy! another Batwoman storyline ahead; same bat channel, same bat place... BAM! KAPOW!! (with a cameo from Chet Baker)

Any chance she is in pain? maybe a shoulder or wrist injury? That would account for her attitude. Of course it could just be her temperament. We have a big brown we call Grumpy for her attitude.

I suppose there's always the chance she's in pain, but I kind of doubt it. During her original capture, she was plucked very gently, using a washcloth, off a very high curtain in an art gallery, and has never suffered any rough handling. She can fly. She's been with me since Halloween and her attitude has only worsened. : )
I've noticed lately that if I keep stuffing mealworms in, she bites less. It's almost as if she's impatient for the next one. It'd be cute if it weren't so SKARY.

Flying well answers that question. Grumpy has a wrist injury and can't completely open that wing. She chatters when we lift the cloth and she gripes while being taken out. She no longer bites but chatters and bares her teeth. Luckily she has learned to eat from a bowl and only needs to be taken out periodically to be weighed.

[Back to Top]