It’s that time of year again folks! The baby big brown bats that often roost in attics and eaves of our homes are learning to fly! They will often follow a stream of light from inside your home at night, thinking that it is daylight and it is the way to get outside to catch bugs.

If you don’t enjoy bats flying around inside your home like I do, buy a tube of caulk and go over any cracks where walls meet ceilings, chimneys, window and door jams. Take duct tape and go entirely around wherever the door is that goes into your attic space. Stuff insulation material in larger spaces, such as where the stove pipe goes up through the house. Remember, bats follow streams of LIGHT to find daylight and outdoors at dusk, so the object is to seal off cracks in your living space where light from a TV, nightlight etc might stream into where they are roosting, fooling the youngsters into thinking it is the way outside.

If a bat does get into your house, don’t panic. grab a bath-sized towel and gently toss it over the bat and gather it up and take it outside. Bats are very delicate, like hummingbirds!

The NYS Health Department might want to test a bat that has been in your sleeping area while you were sleeping, so you might contact them first if you are concerned.


Bats in Homes in the Winter

BatDuring the winter many bats, especially Big Brown bats in Western New York hibernate in homes.   During mild weather, or when the home might be heated warmer than usual, the bats will wake up and search for food or water.  They often follow beams of light streaming in from lit rooms, thinking it is the way outside. It might be the light from a hallway, a tv or a reading light. These beams duplicate the light of dusk that bats use to find their way outside from attics during warmer months.

Many people are terrified of bats and they panic when they see one flying around their room at night. The bat is equally terrified – as he/she was planning on flying outside for a sip of water or a meal of insects. To send the bat out into the cold winter air is a death sentence for the bat, as is ignoring its need for water.  When bats wake from hibernation, their fat stores are rapidly depleted, often to the point where it will starve to death before spring. In addition, after three days of being awake and not getting water, the bat will become dehydrated and will perish.

Ideally, in this situation, the bat should be allowed to re-enter its state of hibernation after getting some food and water. This is not an easy process, as the bat needs to be kept awake long enough to be re-hydrated and replenish depleted fat stores with a special diet, then allowed time to digest the food and slowly re-enter the hibernative state.  But who will do this?  Not an easy, safe  or legal task for the average person who cares about bats. It is difficult to duplicate the conditions of a bat  hibernaculum. The temperature and humidity have to be just right. Years ago, some bats could be “overwintered” in refrigerators.  But with the new “frost free” refrigerators, all moisture is extracted from the bats body during the “frost free” process and the bats will die. Ideal conditions are those that are found in wine cellars.  Wine Humidors have been suggested, but since they are “air tight” the bats would suffocate.   Fox Wood is trying to find a solution to this dilemma so that we can help more bats.

There are precious few people who understand bat biology, and even fewer in New York State. With White-Nose Syndrome decimating our Little Brown bat populations, there is a possibility that this disease could spread to our Big Brown Bats- and what will be the costs to the environment and  humans as a result of the loss of these bats?  Insect populations would spiral out of control,  pesticide use would have to be accelerated and that’s not going to be a good situation.

Please be kind to bats.  If you know there are a few hibernating in your attic, please allow them to stay at least until spring.  Use caulk to seal off cracks and holes that might allow them into your living space.  If you need to have them removed, please wait until spring and hire a reputable, environmentally conscious Bat Excluder to install one-way doors and check valves after insuring all cracks and holes where the bats may re-enter are sealed or repaired.  In New york, the rule of thumb is “June or July, let ’em fly”.  This means that the bats have their young in the very beginning of June, and so you will need to have them excluded before June, and wait until at least the second week in August when their young can fly to attempt an exclusion.   If you have bats in your home that you don’t want, then you need to take a close look at your home.  If you have bats getting in, you also have bees getting in, and warm air escaping in the winter. Many bat excluders are experienced carpenters who can advise you on necessary repairs.

Cougar Hit By Car in Sardinia, NY

Here we go again… another cougar hoax, but this one is spreading like wildfire thanks to technology.  Local people in southern Erie County are getting cell phone texts with a photo of a deceased cougar on the back of a pickup truck (allegedly a Conservation Law Enforcement Officer’s truck) . Depending on the sender, the text may or may not contain details designed to make the hoax more believable, such as the weight ( 196 lbs) or the DEC tag in its ear. Reportedly hit by a car at the corner of route 39 and Savage Road in the town of Sardinia- a place where cougars frequent (where is my “sarcasm” font when I need it?)

So where is the media on this? When the young couple hit a black bear on the 400 expressway in East Aurora, the media was all over that for days, and black bears are fairly common in the area. Yet a cougar in a place where they are not indigenous gets no coverage?  Hmmm… that might be a red flag there.  Reporters like to be able to have facts to base their stories on – there must be no facts, only fiction here. With all the snow on the ground, there must be extensive cougar tracks in the area, right? Surely it didn’t fall out of the sky into the road.

OK, so then maybe the DEC confiscated it in their on-going effort to deny releasing cougars in the area (sarcasm font again) . They are accused of releasing cougars, they are accused of releasing coyotes too. The fact is, they haven’t released either. State and Federal laws  prohibit the release of non-indigenous animals into an area without extensive research, public meetings, etc.  and then, there is the question – WHY??  What would be the end result? To control the coyotes (hahahaha!) no. Cougars won’t control coyotes. Control the deer? I thought there weren’t enough deer because the coyotes were eating them all (sarcasm font again)


Lets look at the photo that is circulating.  Notice the hunting dog boxes in the bed of the truck, not customary or standard in the DEC trucks. Notice the red spot behind the cougar’s left elbow- looks like a gunshot wound to the vitals, perhaps done while shooting the cougar out of a tree after it was treed by the dogs- in a state where it is legal to do so (not legal in New York).  Look at the bloodied inside right front paw, possibly done by the dogs after the cougar fell dead out of the tree, or perhaps the lethal heart/lung shot sprayed blood on the chest and down the inside of the front leg.  How could being hit by a car broadside cause an injury on the inside of a leg?  If a large cat was hit by a car going the posted 35 mph along this road, the cat most likely would have survived, especially since it obviously wasn’t hit in the head. But lets just say the driver was speeding and wacked him good- probably would have totaled the car, and the cat would have been pretty mangled to have been killed.  This cat just has a little red spot on its side behind the front leg and a bloodied inside leg.   Look at the snowmobiles in the background. This photo evidence looks like it was taken in a field out west. Check out other cougar hoaxes on or

There is always the outside chance that someone had a pet cougar that escaped. There is opportunity to buy all kinds of exotic animals at Mt Hope auctions in spring and fall. Possibly, but a cougar of this size, looks to be an adult male, would hardly make it to this size without being noticed at some point in someones home. However, noting the other clues given by the photo, i.e. the nature of the injuries this is likely not the case.

Someone is having a great deal of fun by creating this hoax and they sure do have a lot of people believing it- good job, whoever you are- people really are gullible some times! Why not do one with Bigfoot next?

Flat Stanley Visits Fox Wood

Celebrity figure Flat Stanley stopped by Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue Saturday February 7th for a brief tour.  He enjoyed the opossum and  was relieved that the skunk saw him as a “friend”. He found the foxes and coyotes quite curious. Thank you Stanley for including Fox Wood in your whirl wind tour!

Stanley and opposum

Stanley and fox

Stanley and coyote

Stanley and skunk