A night visitor

Last night, a bat got into my office and was flying around in circles. It got tired eventually and landed, very conveniently, in a wastebasket. I put a piece of paper over it and carried it outside. Fly free, little bat!

Then we discovered this morning that it was still in the wastebasket. We dumped it out on the porch but otherwise left it alone — we put a box over it, very loosely, with plenty of gaps for escape, and left it a little bit of water, but otherwise, it’s on it’s own.

All we got for our care was some weird little clicky growls.

We might have a bat ‘problem’. They nest above our garage, and their exit is right above our mailbox, which I’ve noticed is getting covered with a lot of bat poop. I’m not complaining — I’ve always wanted to live in a house full of bats and spiders.

A few more raptors would reduce the noise

My wife was working in the garden this morning, while I was vegetating in front of the computer. One of the things Mary does is listen and fire up Merlin Bird ID as she works — paying attention to bird song is supposed to be good for you, you know. This is what she identified in our back yard this morning: Chipping Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, Black-capped Chickadee, Common Grackle, Rock Pigeon, Grey Catbird, American Crow, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-eyed Vireo, Willow Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Blue Jay, Common Raven, Eastern Towhee, Black-and-White Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo, House Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Great Horned Owl, European Starling, Eastern Phoebe, House Wren, American Goldfinch, Downy Woodpecker, Chimney Swift, Dickcissel, American Redstart, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Mourning Dove, Yellow-rumped warbler, Cedar Waxwing, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

I thought she made up “Dickcissel,” but apparently it’s a real bird living in the Midwest. I know we’ve got owls in the neighborhood, and also hawks, since this is clearly a great feeding ground.

This does explain why I’m getting up early every morning — the cacophony is tremendous around here.

Is it Halloween already?

Bats and spiders…it makes me think of Halloween, anyway. I’ll stick a photo below the fold of a spider eating a bat so you can get into the festive spirit, too.

It seems there is a bit of a conflict going on in northern Australia, with bats snatching up spiders and spiders snaring bats.

Ms Maclean said there had been several other recorded incidents of bats caught in spider webs but, conversely, some microbats in the Far North were known to eat golden orb spiders out of their webs.

“[Golden-tipped bats] have two large teeth that are specially housed in the bottom jaw,” she said.

“They can tell which side of the web the spider’s in, they fly in, they grab the body of the spider with the teeth, and then they fly backwards out of the web with it.

“They kind of suck the contents of the abdomen out … they don’t particularly eat the legs and things.”

I don’t feel at all bad if a bat occasionally meets a grisly end.

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Too cold for a centipede

Mary caught a centipede in the house, and I was going to take a quick picture of it…but it was way too active. So I had the bright idea of bringing it to the lab, and just carry it outside as I walked in. I had it in a large plastic container that I figured would provide some thermal insulation.

It was not enough.

Before I reached the end of the driveway, it was immobile — that was less than a minute. It took another 3 or 4 minutes to get to work, and it looked dead and frozen. I took a picture anyway. This is a sad, corpselike centipede. Whoops. I was pretty sure I’d killed it with surprising speed. I guess -20°C isn’t healthy for small invertebrates.

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Friday Cephalopod: quite possibly non-Euclidean

You might be tempted to stare deeply into this image, trying to puzzle out what it is you’re looking at, but that’s how they get you.

That’s Haliphron, the 7-armed octopus, holding a jellyfish it’s been nibbling on. Now that I’ve told you, I hope that has broken the spell, and you’ll be able to escape. If not, well, a cephalopod has got to eat, and it’s next victim will by baffled by the way those twisting arms surround your face.