It’s Getting Batty in the Garage

Right now, as I type this, a single little bat sleeps in our garage, right above the entry door to the rest of the house. It’s toasty in there (106 degrees F, same as the outside), so I hope it endures the hot day well and can head back out for tonight’s activities.

Donna thinks it’s cute, and David wants to name it. Of course, it’s not a pet, and they know to leave it alone. We hope the bat (which looks well fed) will fly right back out again tonight and continue munching on the many kinds of nocturnal bugs around here.

The bat doesn’t seem to mind all the people coming in and out, and the noise and vibration of the door opening and closing. It probably flew in and took roost this morning after Donna and I watched the Perseid meteors for a spell just outside the garage, with the door open.

Here in the country just outside Norman, Elke and I love our wildlife…except for mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers, that is. Those three types of pests can go straight to hell and burn forever! Otherwise, it’s fun to see the variety of birds, reptiles, amphibian and mammals that fly, crawl and run through our acreage during any given week or season.

We’ve spotted dozens of species of songbirds, including one ruby-crowned kinglet that insisted on fighting with his image in our bedroom window several days in a row. We have resident pairs of barred owls and red-shouldered hawks, each of which vanished for awhile (but later returned) after the 12 June 2009 tornado busted up a bunch of trees across our property last year. We hear the call of red-tailed hawks overhead by day and great horned owls in the distance at night.

Crows call out almost constantly during the day, including a very recognizable, longtime resident that sounds laryngitic. A pair of roadrunners roams the neighborhood, and seems to have greatly reduced the population of toads and tarantulas since their arrival. Still, there are some, as well as several kinds of lizards and frogs. Elke once rescued a clutch of baby thrashers from a huge bull snake that shimmied up a cedar tree in pursuit of a snack, and I’ve seen several other species of nonpoisonous snakes in our gardens. Pygmy rattlers and copperheads live in the area, though I haven’t seen any on our property.

Armadillos love to dig ankle-twisting holes in parts of our yard; and I have had to exterminate a few particularly destructive ones. We hear the warbling and chortling of coyotes, on almost a nightly basis, from our back neighbor’s quarter-section. His pond attracts huge flocks of geese and ducks that fly overhead often. We’ve observed a bobcat, twice, go into our garage to pursue mice; though it is a reclusive critter and seldom seen. I’ve had possums walk right by my feet at night (possums are so freakin’ stupid…how have they survived so long?), and various members of a family of raccoons raids our outdoor compost pen on almost a nightly basis for whatever we thrown out there that’s edible. We’ve seen plenty of rabbits and deer also.

Centipedes and scorpions are common; indeed, our cat kills a few scorpions in the house every year. Elke almost stepped on one barefoot the other night. And the variety of spiders around here is mind-boggling. Yes, that includes black widows and brown recluses, whose habitats we have learned well.

We’ve even seen bats flying — but until today, never roosting on the house — much less in the garage. Cool. The more bats we’ve got, the fewer we have of mosquitoes, moth parents of plant-eating caterpillars, and other annoying bugs. We ought to put up some bat boxes, now that we know they want to roost here.



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