Baby Bats: Spring 2012 (and Beyond)

A maternal colony of Big Brown bats used to roost in the louvers of my attic each spring and summer to have and raise their babies. In 2012 there were at least 30 adult female bats in this colony! It was amazing to watch them flying out of the louvers each evening.

(This video had to be brightened SO much as it was almost dark as I was recording. Similarly, all pictures of the baby bats were taken in fairly low light and then lightened as needed in Photoshop.)

As I wrote in 2011, I first got involved in “bat rescue” in June 2005 when I found an unfortunate baby that had fallen from the louvers. I didn’t really know much about bats at that time and had some of the same “fear” or trepidation about them that most people do. But since I was presented with a tiny little baby that would surely die if I didn’t try to help, I got involved and didn’t look back.

During the Spring of 2011, I found five fallen babies, which was a record. In 2012 that record was totally shattered before the end of May!

I heard and saw Baby #1 hanging onto the attic louvers on May 16, 2012. This was nearly a week earlier than the first fallen baby in the Spring of 2011. I didn’t have a ladder that reached all the way to the louvers, so there was nothing I could do….

I was at work when it fell later that afternoon, but just by chance my son, his girlfriend (now his wife), and my significant other were all at the house and they were able to take care of it until I got home.

Baby #1 was a tiny newborn. We gave it Pedialyte (the red stuff on the cloth) and warm goat’s milk that I had in the freezer from 2011. Since I wasn’t READY for baby bats yet, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I put its container on the top shelf of the closet in my bedroom and it peeped all night long! I took it to Robin, the wildlife rehabilitator, on May 17th.


Baby #2, which was larger and a bit older than #1, was found after a heavy downpour on the evening of May 22nd.

After hydrating it, I went outside to put it on the nylon mesh on the side of my house for a possible retrieval by its mom–and discovered Baby #3. I put both of the bats on the mesh and came inside.

When I went back out to check on them a couple of hours later, Baby #2 was gone, and I hoped it had been retrieved by it’s mother.


Baby #3 was still on the mesh, so I brought it inside.

Usually I just kept the babies for a day or two, trying to give their moms a chance to retrieve them. When I called the rehabber to let her know I’d found yet another one, she said she was going out of town for a couple of days and asked if I had enough goat’s milk. I did, so I agreed to keep #3 until she got back OR until its mom picked it up–whichever came first. Keeping one little bat for a couple of days? No problem, right? Little did I know how incredibly crazy things were going to get!


I found Baby #4 on May 23rd. It was larger and older than #3, and it was starting to get some fuzzy brown fur on its body. Caring for two babies was a bit more time-consuming than caring for one, but it was active and seemed healthy, so I figured I’d put both of them on the mesh that evening.

I went outside around 7:00 pm to do a “bat check” before it was dark. No more babies had fallen, but I saw something strange at the edge of my roof. It was a SNAKE!! As I watched in horror, it started moving towards the louvers!

The only thing I could think to do was to put the power wash nozzle on the hose and try to blast it off the roof, but I knew I had to be careful not to spray water into the louvers. Each time I hit the snake with the water, it would back up for a second, but then it would continue to make its way towards the bats.

Then I saw the most amazing thing: At least 10 mother bats flew out of the louvers with their babies clinging to their chests! I wish I could have photographed this, but I was still trying to stop the snake.

Finally, nearly in tears with frustration, I gave up. I could hear peeping coming from the louvers as the snake moved closer, but I was helpless to stop what was going to happen. I came inside to feed the two babies that were safe in their container in my basement….

I understand the “circle of life,” and I know that nature can (from our point of view) sometimes seem cruel, but in addition to all of the man-made and environmental crises that bats are facing, it just seemed so unfair to have this particular colony threatened by a natural predator, which was probably a Black Rat snake.


Just before 6:00 pm on May 25th, I found Baby #5. It was on the ground–quite small and quite dead. I’m not sure what happened to it.

Later that evening I was surprised to hear chattering, and I counted 32 large bats flying out of the louvers! The colony had returned!! I put #3 and #4 on the mesh again and hoped for the best.


That night as we sat on the back porch listening to the peeping of Baby #3 and Baby #4 on the mesh, I heard a faint peeping coming from a different location. What?! To my utter amazement, Baby #6 was hanging on the south side of the porch, high on the screen! There was no way to get it from the outside (too high and nowhere to rest a ladder), so I cut the screen and brought it onto the porch.

The louvers are on the west side of the house, so I have no idea how it wound up on the south side unless it was a “fledgling” (almost ready to fly) that had flown a short distance and then climbed up the screen.

When I got a good look at it, I realized that it was also pretty big. We put Baby #6 on the mesh with #3 and #4. All were still there a few hours later, so they were brought back in the house. The next afternoon I was able to get a couple of quick videos of Baby #4 and Baby #6 drinking goat’s milk from a paintbrush. (This video has no sound.)

And it CONTINUED to “rain bats”!!


Baby #7 was found the morning of May 27th. It was even larger than #4 and #6, and old enough to realize that it was a bat having an unwelcomed experience with a human…. I knew I’d have to be extra careful when dealing with this beautiful baby.

Fully furred and probably a fledgling, it still needed a safe place to stay until evening. I brought it inside and carefully made it into a “bat burrito,” swaddling it so that it couldn’t move. Once I had it restrained, it eagerly took the water and milk that I offered it.

Since #3, #4 and #6 hadn’t been retrieved by their moms after multiple chances, I decided not to put them on the mesh and just took out Baby #7. When I went out to check on it a while later, I found Baby #8 (smaller) on the side of the house! I put it on the mesh with #7.

When I went out on the porch a while later, I heard peeping on the south side of the house again and discovered Baby #9, which I ALSO put on the mesh with the other two!

When I checked around midnight, Baby #8 was gone, possibly picked up by its mom. I decided to leave the other two out for the night, and in the morning there was only one on the mesh, that I *think* was #9.

I’ve mentioned the “mesh” several times, so here’s what that was about: Bats need to swoop downward in order to become airborne, so I had several feet of nylon mesh hanging from a dowel rod like a curtain and I attached to the side of my house. I used a modified broom handle to reach up to lower the mesh, which was as high as I could feasibly put it on my house.

The nylon mesh offered a place for mother bats to land to pick up their babies as well as enough height for a young “fledgling” bat to launch itself. Following the suggestion of the wildlife rehabilitator, I added a little fabric flap at the top of the mesh to give the babies a place to crawl under and hide AND to minimize the possibility of one climbing up and falling off.

I’m not sure what motivates the babies to climb, but typically they went all the way to the top, got under the fabric fold, and hung by their toes upside down!

On the morning of May 28th, I found myself with four bats: #3, #4, #6, and #9. To my absolute delight–and relief–the rehabber had gotten home, and I was more than ready to take her these babies. I offered to pick up the ones that she had taken to the Wildlife Center (while she was out of town) before driving to her farm. (I can’t remember how many she said she’d taken to the Wildlife Center; I wasn’t the only person bringing her bats that year!)

I walked out the basement door with my box o’ four bats only to find not one, not two, not three, but FOUR MORE “fledgling” babies!! Totally out of control….

Since these four new ones were possibly capable of flight, I put them in containers in my house and planned to put them out that night. I put the other four (#3, #4, #6, and #9) in the car, drove to the Wildlife Center (in my Batmobile?) to pick up the other baby bats, and drove to Robin’s farm to deliver the lot of them.

When I got home, I realized that all of these new babies were approximately the same size. Were they actually “new” fallen bats, or was I re-finding the same babies? How could I tell them apart?

I decided to start color-coding them by putting a tiny dot of acrylic paint on the top of each one’s head. And so instead of just going by number “names,” we had Gray/10, Red/11, Yellow/12, and White/13 who were all put out on the mesh that night.

Yellow” was really annoying. He or she wasn’t interested in climbing up the mesh like the other babies–it just wanted to fly! It kept pushing off, flapping frantically, and falling to the ground. After picking it up and putting it back on the mesh several times, it fell again and started moving across the concrete foundation of my house.

Unfortunately, it crawled around to the front of the house into some bushes, and I couldn’t get to it. When I checked later, I only saw “White,” plus a new one (who became “Orange/14“), and those were the only ones I brought inside that night.

On the morning of May 29th I found yet another “fledgling” (“Green/15“), and it was added to the container of young, active bats….

The babies were kept in a small plastic trashcan that had mesh sewn around the inside of it. A pair of pantyhose covered the top. The container was kept in a box to minimize drafts, and a heating pad was placed inside the box to help keep the babies warm. Lights and noise were kept to a minimum in this room (a basement bathroom) to avoid stressing them.

But as I watched those very energetic and relatively large bats moving around in the container on the morning of May 29th, I realized that I was suddenly out of my comfort zone. While I had acquired enough skill over the years to feel confident–and safe–in providing temporary care for very young bats, the older ones not only required a different type of diet, but they also were more likely to act like any normal wild animal in a “threatening” situation. And that concerned me.

Decision made, I called Robin and said I’d like to bring them to her–and I did.

That night no new babies fell, but I was fascinated to watch what must have been the Big Brown bat version of “Flight School” in my back yard! Large adult bats and several small bats were flying back and forth, back and forth, between nearby trees and the attic louvers. So cool!

I didn’t find any more tiny babies in 2012. I did find fledglings Baby #16 and Baby #17 crawling around on the ground one evening. When I put them up on the mesh, they were able to fly away! ❤


For whatever the reason, the bats must have chosen to roost elsewhere after 2012, as that was the last year that I was involved in serious “bat rescue.”

One night in June 2016, however, I heard a lot of “bat chatter,” and I was surprised to see a bunch of bats in my louvers! This group only stayed 10 days, and I didn’t find any babies at all while they were here–which was a very good thing.


In July 2020 as we were sitting out on the deck, a lone bat circled around and around, just overhead. Was this one of “our” bats? Wayne did his special whistle, just in case. 😉

There’s no way to know, of course, but it’s kind of nice to think that maybe one of our former babies stopped by to say hello. I wish them all well. ❤


As I say on each of the “bat pages,” I was caring for these baby Big Brown bats with the support of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. As a safety-conscious rescuer and temporary caregiver, I can help keep a young or injured wild animal warm and hydrated, but turning it over to a wildlife specialist gives it the best possible chance of surviving and someday returning to its natural habitat, where it belongs.


There is so much misinformation, superstition and fear about bats. One long-standing myth is that “all bats” are rabid. Not true! Less than one-half of one percent of bats contract rabies, but that said, it is important to remember that any frightened or injured wild animal can bite! For that reason, no bat should be handled with bare hands. Wildlife rehabilitators who plan to work with rabies vector species must receive a series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations before they can be licensed.

I think that our cultural view of bats has been largely shaped by frightening images of “Dracula” and Halloween. By contrast, in China bats are seen as symbols of happiness, longevity and good luck!

The unfortunate bat in a house–scared witless and usually being chased by a frantic human armed with a tennis racket or broom–is certainly going to look and sound as fierce as it possibly can. Additionally, most pictures of bats show them in a defensive posture, and that has only served to perpetuate the very negative and scary image that people have of them.

Bats are mammals, meaning that the babies are born alive and suckle milk from their mothers. On average, female bats give birth to just one baby per year, and they can live for 20 years! They are more closely related to primates than they are to rodents, and they are not blind. Many species of bats are in danger of extinction due to White Nose Syndrome, loss of habitat, and accidental or intentional eradication and extermination due to human fear and ignorance.

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