Freaky Visitor in Woodley Park

Dear PoPville,

I snapped this picture of a bat clinging to my bedroom window in Woodley Park yesterday afternoon. Is this normal for DC? Should bats be out during the day?

I poked at the screen from the inside, but instead of flying away the bat hissed at me and extended its wings. It wasn’t really causing any harm, so I let it be (i.e. my wife was convinced that if I kept poking at it, the screen would fall out, the bat would fly in, and we would both perish in a bat related incident). It stayed put for about 4 more hours, before flying off.

Maybe this would be worthy of an afternoon animal fix? There’s no rule that the animals have to be cute, right?

Anyone else ever see a bat in DC? In the daytime?

41 Comment

  • T

    Bats are nocturnal. Maybe it was rabid??

  • I would call animal control; bats are supposed to be sleeping during the daytime, not chilling out on your window. It could be sick/rabid.

  • Bats are a GOOD thing, especially after this mild winter – they eat lots of mosquitoes and insects that would otherwise annoy us. I can just picture a letter to PoP this summer: Dear PoP, how can I kill all of the mosquitoes around my house, but without using chemicals??? Um, get more bats!

    That said, if this bat is still clinging around later, you may want to put on some thick leather gloves and try to shoo it away. Might be caught.

  • It was probably just sleeping there because it was easy to hold onto. Or you have a vampire problem. Get some extra garlic just in case.

  • That wingspan made me lose my appetite.

  • Wow that’s quite a bat! When I was very young, 2-3 years old, my dad used to take me out around our neighborhood in FL at dusk and see the bats flapping around. They were tiny compared to this beast, though!

  • EEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!!! My cat would have been flipping out! Such ugly little buggers.

  • I bet the poor guy just got lost coming home this morning and was just looking for a safe place to rest. It would be really weird if he was out flying during the day.

  • i was bit by a bat in st louis a few years ago during the day. i checked with the cdc, and stl county was on rabies watch. bats aren’t supposed to be around during the day, so there’s a chance that this one might be. call animal control- they’ll get rid of it and test to see if it is actually rabid.

    also, the doctors i spoke with said that some bats have teeth so small that you might not notice bite marks. not to be all “stirring things up”, but rabies can be fatal:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabies#Prognosis

    i ended up getting 6 or 7 shots in my butt and arms over the course of a couple weeks. it sucked, but i am alive.

  • I saw a few bats flying around Sherman Circle the other night at dusk, but these were far smaller than what this bat appears to be in the photo. My 3 year old son was amazed by them, but I think this one in Woodley might well have flown away with him.

  • PoP – in response to your question, I think it’s okay that we keep the animal fix cute. As a avid reader and, in keeping with tradition, I would even advocate for you to implement a ‘must be totally adorable’ rule for the afternoon animal fix. ;)

  • yikes! that would have scared me. Once I found a baby bat on the ground outside my old job. It looked hurt, couldn’t move or fly away. I scooped it up and put it in a cage at work and we gave it a little dish of water and called the humane society (or maybe it was animal control can’t remember). No one ever came for it, and it ended up dying.

  • Cool! I love bats. And as a previous poster said, they are supposed to be good at killing lots of mosquitos. At least from what I have read, getting bat houses and giving bats a place to sleep in your back yard is 1 way to help control mosquitos. Not sure why someone else said that isn’t true so maybe the research is still iffy.

    Anyway, bats are not supposed to be flying about during the day. Usually when they are it means they are rabid. I would call animal control on this guy.

    Also, just in case, I would go to Home Depot and pick up a couple of stakes and grab some garlic while you are out. You know…just in case…

  • This is a Big Brown Bat, a pretty common bat around here, and it’s size is not unusual. As it was roosting, not flying, I wouldn’t have worried about rabies, although it is possible it was rabid. It is also possible is was suffering from White Nose Syndrome, which is rapidly causing the extinction of many North American bat species, but for whatever reason, urban bats are less susceptible to this ailment.

  • Yikes, that thing is UGLY! Eesh, glad he wasn’t on my window.

    A few years ago my roommate scaled the roof and attached a bat house to our chimney…pretty sure it has never been inhabited.

  • I agree that bats are great for mosquito population control (bats can eat 500-1000 mosquitoes AN HOUR), but any sign of a bat not acting bat-like should be assumed a symptom of rabies, to be safe. Basically, if you see bats out in the sunlight, before dusk, beware! And that little guy would have gotten rabies from another animal, so be on the watch for his other potentially rabid friends…

  • This reminds me that “Dark Shadows” the movie directed by Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire, as well as Michelle Pfeiffer as his cousin Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, a reclusive matriarch of the Collins family is scheduled to open on May 11, 2012.

  • Jesus…I’ve flown on planes smaller than that thing. I don’t know if it is because of the camera perspective or what, but the thing looks like a teradacytal baby.

  • Sources:
    http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/index.html
    http://www.batcon.org/index.php/bats-a-people/bats-and-rabies.html

    Bats play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, from rain forests to deserts. They eat insects, including some that can cause lots of damage to farms and crops. They pollinate plants and they scatter seed.

    A single little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour, while a pregnant or lactating female bat typically eats the equivalent of her entire body weight in insects each night.

    Bats are not blind. They aren t rodents and they aren t birds. They will not suck your blood — and most bats do not have rabies. Because bats are mammals, they can develop rabies, but MOST do not have the disease.

    Most bats don t have rabies. For example, even among bats submitted for rabies testing because they could be captured, were obviously weak or sick, or had been captured by a cat, only about 6% had rabies.

    Ad for all you who will attack the 6% above: Rabies in humans is rare in the United States. There are usually only one or two human cases per year.

    Truth in educating: among the 19 naturally acquired cases of rabies in humans in the United States from 1997-2006 [TEN YEARS], 17 were associated with bats.

    No subject has generated more misinformation and fear about bats than rabies. So let’s look at the facts. Worldwide, more than 55,000 people are estimated to die of rabies each year (World Health Organization), primarily from contacts with rabid dogs. In industrialized countries, most dogs and cats are now vaccinated against rabies, and the disease is rare in humans and usually results from contact with rabid wildlife, particularly bats. In the United States from 1995 through 2009, an average of two people per year have died of rabies associated with bats.

    Only three species, all in Latin America, are vampires. They really do feed on blood, although they lap it like kittens rather than sucking it up as horror movies suggest. Even the vampires are useful: an enzyme in their saliva is among the most potent blood-clot dissolvers known and is used to treat human stroke victims.

    • Ha, learning these bat facts made my day!

    • Sooo…
      -Bats are not usually rabid/Bats are the leading cause of human rabies in the wild
      -Most bats don’t have rabies/17 of 19 rabies cases in the US were from bats
      -Bats are not vampires/Some bats are vampires

      Any other contradictory factoids?

      • The first points are not contradictory and to the third point, what he/she said was “bats do not suck blood,” which is true. He/she didn’t say they weren’t vampires, although they are of course not, in the Hollywood sense. There are species called “vampire bats,” but they are named this because they drink blood. It has nothing to do with the manner in which they do so.

      • Not contradictory.

        The article says only 6% of bats are rabid. The reason they’re responsible for 17 of 19 rabies cases in humans in the United States is that most domestic animals (dogs, cats) here are vaccinated — if you’re going to get rabies here, it’s probably going to be from a wild animal.

        (I know in some areas where rabies is common in raccoons, there have been efforts to vaccinate them using oral rabies vaccine contained in bait… so maybe that helps decrease the numbers of raccoons that might otherwise pass rabies to humans.)

        The article says that bats “will not suck your blood,” which is true of the bat species in North America and technically even true of the vampire species in South America — it says that they lap blood “like kittens”! *shiver* ;)

  • As I read your post, all I could think was: “I SOOOOOO agree with your wife!” That picture seriously creeps me out!

  • i love that bat

  • Jeesh! Some of the advice on here… *Never* try to handle a wild animal, especially if it’s acting strangely or aggressively! Wearing thick gloves won’t protect your eyeballs or elbows or ankles or whatever else that critter might decide to go after.

  • bats are cute!

  • anon. gardener

    I’ve seen bats cruising around inside Metro stations in the summer. Pretty perfect place for them, like a big bat cave. i think bats are cool, but that is damn scary.

  • I love bats! They are so creepy and bizarre and cute in an ugly way. And you so rarely see one up close like that!

    But, like others noted, I’d be concerned that this particular bat was rabid. If anyone else has a bat hang around for that long, I’d recommend calling animal control.

  • He’s only there b/c Mayor Gray accidentally tweeted the BatSign.

  • Batty, batty, batty, wings don’t fail me now!

  • bats can carry rabies, this one was acting very weird, I would have called animal control.

  • Your post inspired me! New post on the National Wildlife Federation’s blog: “Merely Misunderstood.” 5 Need-to-Know FAQs for Seeing a Bat in the Daytime http://bit.ly/HlLqXt

    Be safe (and batty) out there!

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