by Don Rush
October 24, 2007
“To the Batpole, Boy Wonder.”
* * *
Ah, it’s October. The colors, the (thanks to global warming) warm days and relatively cool nights, pumpkins all turn a young man’s attention to things warm and cuddly. And, if you’re Dave Kugler, that can only mean one thing, bats.
Kugler, of Ortonville is president of Critter Catchers, Inc. To this young man, the fall season isn’t about tossing the pigskin around, nor is it about going out into the woods to hunt for whitetail deer. Nope, fall is about bats. We are up to our knees in guano and the batting season.
Yep, as the days grow shorter and colder, warmblooded mammalians, like bats start fattening up for a long, hard winter. And, bats start looking for a home to wait out the winter. Michigan’s little brown bats from the rocky caves of the Upper Peninsula have started migrating south. But, not to Mexico, many end up right about here in south Genesee, Lapeer and north Oakland counties. Unfortunately for some (bats and people), one man’s home can be many bats’ roost -- which increases the probabilities of man-bat encounters.
“Humans instinctively fear the things in our world that we don’t understand,” says our man Dave, “And bats, unfortunately, seem to land at the top of that list, regardless of the many benefits they provide, like insect control around the home and garden.
“When the general public attempts to get bats out of their home, the natural reaction is to harm the bat with a tennis racket or a baseball bat. That approach is certainly going to damage lamps and picture frames, and it’s definitely not our suggested approach in dealing with an animal weighing ounces, not pounds.”
While our hero, Dave, has no cape, he’s sworn to combat injustices perpetrated against all of batdom. Crusader Dave has put his money where his mouth is and created the Critter Catchers, Inc. - Bat Conservation Scholarship. The annual scholarship is offered to students at Bat Command Central -- the Indiana State University Center for North American Bat Research. He hopes to encourage a better understanding of the world’s sole mammal capable of actual flight.
I have learned some interesting things about Myotis Leucifugus (little brown bat) from the myth-busting, critter-catching duo. Like -- all they need to get into your home is hole about an inch long by the width of a Number Two pencil.
“Holy tight spaces, Batman, that ain’t a big hole!”
Yep, that means holes in vents and in between bricks are like hotel welcome signs to traveling bats.
And, since bats need to drop down from their upside down perches to fly, they need at least eight feet of clearance. So, when looking for holes bats can enter and exit your home, look high -- not low.
The average colony has six or so bats, but local colonies can reach upward to (take a deep breath folks, remember this isn’t in your home) 800 individual brown bats. Zoinks, that would mean a lot of bat poo.
For more information about bats and the scholarship, visit # bats or call Dave at 248-432-2712.
The article appeared in the Oxford Leader, The Lake Orion Review, The Clarkston News, and The Ortonville Citizen.
Critter Catchers is the exclusive bat removal partner for the Organization for Bat Conservation.