by Maria Ruiz
Maria often shares stories with us about Santa Barbara history, her travel all over the world, her dogs, and life.
Bang! “What was that?” I said as something hit the canvas roof of our attached tent on the side of our motor home.
It was June in Puerto Vallarta, and the temperature at ten o’clock in the night was still over 95 degrees. We have purchased a television dish and set it up to watch TV while we waited to move on. It was too hot to sit inside the camper, so we moved the small TV to the steps of the home and watched the shows.
Something had fallen down on the canvas, and we both looked up. Since we were parked under some palm trees, it was always a worry that a coconut would fall. That would have ripped the canvas and whatever had hit must have been smaller.
The canvas room was hooked to the side of the RV, and the other three sides were mostly screen and kept the mosquitoes and any other insects out of our living space. At one end, there was a zipper that opened a door. As I went to open it, I saw something flying around just outside the screened area. I stopped and watched. “Hey, Ted. Come here and see this.”
“What is it?”
“I think it’s a bat but not acting like any I’ve ever seen,” I answered. “Where’s the flashlight?”
He handed me the flashlight, and I shown it on whatever was there. True, it was a bat, one of the millions that kept the insect population down in the tropics. “Now, why would a bat fly around like that?” we both asked.
I flashed the light down to the little shrub right outside the door. There we saw something moving. I had not unzipped the door and decided not to. We bent over to see more clearly and there was the answer! A tiny baby bat was on the ground, probably having fallen from its mother to our canvas roof, and then slid down to the ground. The mother was obviously upset and tried to fly round the shrub, but since it was just outside our tent, didn’t have a 360 degree path.
The baby tried to climb up a little stick, but when it had almost reached the top, slipped back down. We were, by this time, holding our breath and watching this life and death situation.
The mother bat flew around near the shrub, and we could hear a very faint cry coming from the baby. It found the little shrub trunk again and began its climb up. The mother was making little clicking noises, and the faint calls from the baby were also attracting other flying insects. When the baby got almost to the top of the shrub, the mother swooped down, opened her wings, and tried to cover the baby.
We saw her try to move closer to the shrub, but the tent was in the way. The baby fell down to the ground again. I was trying to think of some way we could help but nothing was coming to mind. I was afraid that if we unzipped the door and stepped out, the mother would fly away, and I didn’t have the slightest idea of how we could raise a bat.
A few more calls from the baby and another burst of clicks and the baby moved to another branch of the shrub. He would climb by reaching up with his little hand at the top of his wing. Every time he reached up, the wing would open and the mother would circle around again. He pulled his little body up, higher and higher. When he was almost at the top, she swooped down, wrapped the top of the shrub in her wing, shook a bit, and then flew off.
She had rescued her baby. We didn’t say much as we watched the bat fly off into the night. We could only hope that the baby would hold on tighter from then on.