Sunday, January 13, 2013
Oh, would that Drusilla the Big Brown Bat pup were this tractable all the time. If you're just tuning in to the special lunacy that goes on in my house every day, Drusilla was found on Halloween, clinging to a curtain high within the Riverside Artists' Coop Gallery in Marietta, Ohio. It was already darned cold and Drusilla wouldn't have done well simply released outdoors. To be exact, she probably would have died. So I took her in and waited for the next nice long spell of warm nights (above 60 degrees) when I'd be able to release her. And they never came. It stayed cold until it was far too late to even try releasing her downtown.
Despite my hunch that she's just a babe from the past summer, Drusilla was never a sweet young thing. No, she's a narrrrsty bat. The ideal subject for cold storage, in my opinion. So she's my guinea pig and I must say, 2.5 months into this grand little experiment, that she's working out splendidly. Her first cold storage spell was a week, after which I took her out, weighed, fed, and watered her for several days, then put her back.
Then I left her out there for two weeks. She was fine.
The last period of cold storage was a full month. No food or water for a month. Try that with your kitty cat. And here's how she is:
What she is, is torpid. She's too cold to do much other than look threatening. So she spreads her wings, squeals in a creepy Venusian way and bares her teeth and that's about it. When she warms up, though, whoa Nelly bar the door. Flat-out dangerous. It only takes a few hours for her to warm up to the point of eating, and two days later she's ready to rock. I'm hoping, for historical purposes, to get a video of her at her worst but I fear for the safety of my videographer Phoebe it will have to be shot through the sliding glass door of the aviary. I would like to show it to anyone who thinks you can pick up a bat with bare hands. And to anyone who's tempted to think that I keep bats for fun. No. I keep them so they don't have to die. If I could find an accessible big brown bat hibernaculum, I'd hang them up with their buddies and walk away. So fast.
Many thanks to my unwilling videographer, Phoebe Linnea, who is much, much less than thrilled to be in the aviary with me and Dru. And to Chet Baker, who insists on being present just to make sure I don't fall in love with another durned bat.
No danger there, Chet Baker. I love Drusilla (for better or much, much worse) but she will never replace YOU.
photo by Sara Stratton
see her beautiful piece about this July visit to our sanctuary here.