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Old 02-16-2012
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Question Bats in the sails

How many have had the bat problem in thier sails? I noticed the droppings near the mast a few days ago and raised the main, and lord and behold I had at least 10 of the little rodents in the main makeing it there home. So instead of killing them I made a thing called a bat box. Hopefully this will keep them out of the sails, also put some moth balls in the sail folds.
Last night sitting in the pilot house I watched them come and go into the bat box for a couple of hours. I am not sure but i think I now have 20 of the little critters moved in. I will not put running water in for them no matter how much they want it, he he he have to draw a line someplace!!
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Old 02-16-2012
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We were cruising about 5 miles offshore headed to a port ~30 miles away on Lake Michigan last summer and noticed a bat circling our rig. He ended up landing on the mast about 25' above the deck and then occassionally dive bombing us before finally settling in on the sail track. As soon as we got about 1 mile out from port, I used the boat hook to gently nudge him away.

We had departed before sun-up so I assume he had spent the night high up on the mast (possibly in the mast track) and was disturbed when we raised the sails. I've got a couple of pictures I'll post later.
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Old 02-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaltersmi View Post
We were cruising about 5 miles offshore headed to a port ~30 miles away on Lake Michigan last summer and noticed a bat circling our rig. He ended up landing on the mast about 25' above the deck and then occassionally dive bombing us before finally settling in on the sail track. As soon as we got about 1 mile out from port, I used the boat hook to gently nudge him away.

We had departed before sun-up so I assume he had spent the night high up on the mast (possibly in the mast track) and was disturbed when we raised the sails. I've got a couple of pictures I'll post later.
Cool!

I wonder if you installed a bat box if the bats would stay with your boat? I imagine they would sleep in the box during the day and come out when you are at anchor.

Might be a solution to the mosquito problem?

I don't know how hard it would be to clean guano off your deck though.

Is 'Bats in the rigging' the nautical equivalent of 'Bats in the belfry'?
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Old 02-16-2012
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Your story surprizes me ,as I cut down yard trees all the time, and have yet to find any bats living in those bat boxes I remove before cutting. I've found them every where else!.....Dale
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Old 02-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safira View Post
How many have had the bat problem in thier sails? I noticed the droppings near the mast a few days ago and raised the main, and lord and behold I had at least 10 of the little rodents in the main makeing it there home. So instead of killing them I made a thing called a bat box. Hopefully this will keep them out of the sails, also put some moth balls in the sail folds.
Last night sitting in the pilot house I watched them come and go into the bat box for a couple of hours. I am not sure but i think I now have 20 of the little critters moved in. I will not put running water in for them no matter how much they want it, he he he have to draw a line someplace!!
Cool!! Insectivorous bats (the vast majority of the species in N. America) are one of the best bug-controllers around. They eat a fairly good fraction of their own mass in flying insects every night. Just make sure that, as with all wild critters, you leave any apparently sick ones alone.
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Old 02-16-2012
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When you get back to the dock, place the bat box on a high piling next to the boat. They'll stay with the box and keep the entire area around your boat bug free. They are amazing creatures that consume their entire body weight in flying insects every night.

Gary
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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
When you get back to the dock, place the bat box on a high piling next to the boat. They'll stay with the box and keep the entire area around your boat bug free.
If you do move the box, make sure you orient it (with respect to the sun) the same way as it originally was.

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They are amazing creatures that consume their entire body weight in flying insects every night.
They are amazing, but that's a bit of an exaggeration. Most species eat something on the order of a third of their body mass in insects every 24 hours. This is about on a par with most small homeothermic (="warm blooded") critters, most of their energy intake goes toward keeping them warm. Thermoregulation and energy intake is such a problem in bats that most species actually "hibernate" (officially, torpor), rather than simply sleep, every day to conserve energy.
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Old 02-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
If you do move the box, make sure you orient it (with respect to the sun) the same way as it originally was.



They are amazing, but that's a bit of an exaggeration. Most species eat something on the order of a third of their body mass in insects every 24 hours. This is about on a par with most small homeothermic (="warm blooded") critters, most of their energy intake goes toward keeping them warm. Thermoregulation and energy intake is such a problem in bats that most species actually "hibernate" (officially, torpor), rather than simply sleep, every day to conserve energy.
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Old 02-16-2012
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Our California cousins bought a ranch in Sonoma that had a 120 year old farmhouse as the main house. After they moved in some neigbours came by and at some point said, "you know you have bats don't you?" Needless to say, they DIDN'T know but weren't worried about a few bats in their attic - it was unvented and they didn't think it would be much of a problem.

No problem that is, until WE arrived! We were having dinner outside at dusk and the bats started leaving in ones & two's & fives - this just kept going for 45 minutes. While my wife & I enjoyed it, their faces kept getting longer and longer until I pointed out the complete lack of bugs, despite the fact they were living just above the high water mark of a floodplain in an agro area. We should have been getting eaten alive but there were NO bugs at all.

They finally called in the "Bat Man" from the agro department and got them out and moved into one of the barns. Turned out there were hundreds of the little buggers living in their attic. They only had one little hole about 3/4" as their doorway so they must have been lined up like a theatre line to get out.

If you live in an area that has the little critters you should do everything you can to encourage them - they make an amazing difference.
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From what I have read, the type are brown bats. kind of small about the size of a mouse, body wise and about a 9" to 12 " wingspan. The guano is no problem as I put a pan under the box. They are said to counsume around 14,000 bugs in a single feeding.
There are enough no -see-ems (flying teeth) to keep them well fed.
They are fun to watch fly, great at the arobeics. Dang I have my own air force. whoop ti doo.. beats the heck out of a dog or cat .... I am still no putting in running water for them ... I like the low maintenance pet theroy (LMP) .... cheers
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