Alex James: I’ve been driven batty

Alex James finds a bat in the bedroom is a welcome sight.

'Bats are definitely an acquired taste, but I like having them around,' says Alex James
Photo: ALAMY

By Alex James 1:45PM BST 05 Jul 2012

There’s a seemingly endless amount of love and sympathy out there for common bunnies, badgers and foxes, even though they can all cause quite a lot of damage. Bats don’t tend to get much love, but they don’t create anything like the same problems. All bats really need is somewhere to live, but in the 21st century they are struggling.

Every species of bat is protected and there is legislation in place to prevent roosting sites in old buildings being disturbed, but in reality it is hard to police and has to rely on people doing the right thing – and the truth is that bats are often casualties when old farm outbuildings get redeveloped.

We have pipistrelles – one of Britain’s most common species – roosting in one of the barns. They are definitely an acquired taste, but I like having them around.

All I normally get is glimpses as they flutter around at dusk, but we had a proper close encounter this week.

I’ve got no idea how the pipistrelle managed to get in – there were no windows open. We were just getting into bed when one flew into the bedroom and bobbed around at head height with great speed and supernatural agility – they catch their food on the wing.

This has happened before. Last time, when the bat finally settled, I managed to catch it under a bowl and release it, but that was quite hard work. Since then I’ve been told that all you need to do when a bat flies in is to open a window, as they use sonar to locate exits.

Opening 21st-century windows is easier said than done, but I managed to find a key eventually and opened the top sash. Out it flew immediately, leaving us both breathless and amazed.

Very precious.


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Alex James: I’ve been driven batty
Alex James: I’ve been driven batty
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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