Friday, August 6, 2010

365 Days, Day 60

The walls of spiders' legs are made, Well mortised and finely laid; He was the master of his trade It curiously builded; The windows of the eyes of cats, And for the roof, instead of slats, Is covered with the skins of bats, With moonshine that are gilded (Drayton, Michael [1563 –1631) English poet prominent in the Elizabethan era] Nymphidia, the Court of Fairy)

All is now desolate, fantastic, and ambushed with ghosts; the archaeologists twitter among them like bats (Dame Rose Macaulay [1889 - 1958, English author])

I was sitting on the wooden garden seat the other evening, waiting for Lily to do her business. Two large black ‘butterflies’ swooped down and past me. Brain said, Too big to be butterflies and they were flapping their wings like tiny swallows. Did a double take as I realised that they were not butterflies or swallows, but bats! We have talked of getting a bat-box to encourage them into our garden, although Tom is doubtful that will be lure into our garden. He thinks there bat radar will have picked up my ‘reputation’ as a bat-killer.

I was teaching the Grade 0s at Silverfields Primary School. It was nearing the end of year, so the nativity concert rehearsals were taking place each morning. I led the class down to the hall, sat them on the stage and said they were to wait there quietly, while I went upstairs to the lighting and sound box to switch on the stage lights. I switched on the stage lights and suddenly there was an uproar from the children, much shrieking and pointing and consternation. I dashed back down to see what was happening. I arrived to see the dying throe of a bat trapped between the bulb and the glass of a spotlight. The children had witnessed the whole death-of-a-bat at close range. My family now call me the bat-killer. I didn’t have time to feel awful, as I attempted to calm down 34 traumatised children, single-handedly. I think they have probably been scarred for life.

How to make a bat box

A bat box works on the same principle as a bird box, except that bats prefer a wedge-shaped roost and enter through a gap underneath rather than a hole at the front. Using cheap, untreated wood, this box will give bats the perfect place to shelter and roost in your garden. If you're lucky, they may even give birth and raise their young there, so make sure you site it in a sheltered spot.

Do it: February – October

You will need:

* Plank of rough-sawn untreated wood 120cm x 20cm x 2cm

* Odourless external wood glue

* 19cm x 4cm long nails and hammer

* 1 x metal eyelet with a 1cm diameter

* Pencil, wood saw, ruler



  1. I have always wanted to build an owl house. Not sure how many owls are left in Jhb

  2. I used to love seeing the owls near our house. I found this link for building an owl nest box:
    Don't know how useful it is...

  3. Dougie please build a bat house