Yesterday morning I was driving our small tractor over the bridge that crosses the brook in our meadow. It’s a sturdy little bridge made of small logs and planks, but it flexes when anything heavy goes over it, and as the planks shifted I saw something small, dark, and furry drop from the underside of the bridge into the water. The water in this brook is quite deep with many strong currents, and this little furry something was immediately swept downstream. I could see it struggling furiously as it got further and further away, but its struggles clearly were no match for the force of the water.
Several hundred feet further down the brook in the field next to our property some clumps of dead leaves had created a natural dam at one side of the stream. That’s where I finally found what I first thought was a little black mole, partially covered by leaves and other debris and looking very lifeless. It took a while to scoop the little creature out of the muck without hurting it. Imagine my surprise to find I had rescued… not a mole… but a very exhausted little bat!
The bat was in pretty rough shape and very, very wet. I carried it back to our meadow on a large piece of bark and left it on a big rock near the bridge but a good distance away from the water. The rock was warm but out of the direct sun, and there were lots of sheltering leaves to shield the bat as it hopefully dried out and recovered.
By afternoon the bat’s long, thick fur was almost completely dry and it was starting to move around on the rock’s surface and feeling energetic enough to warn me away when I took these photographs. When I checked again just before dark, the bat had flown away.
The meter reader arrived just as I was walking back from the field, and she asked what was that thing on the piece of bark. When I told her I had just fished a drowning bat out of the brook, her immediate response was “Why?”
Clearly to her a bat’s life wasn’t worth saving.
I don’t agree.