Early this morning, there was a knock on my front door. It was my little sister, Jewell, still clad in her morning bathrobe, insisting that I needed to come outside. As I walked out with her, I asked what it was I so urgently needed to see.
“A bat,” she said, explaining that it was hanging outside a window on my family’s house, next door.
I know what I had to do. I turned around immediately, rushing back inside.
“Let me get my camera,” I shouted as I rushed to my room. My older brother, Nevyn, soon found out what was happening and joined us outside, as well.
Minutes later, I was standing in the backyard of the farmhouse, snapping photos of a bat who was apparently too tired to make its way home, wherever “home” might be.
“His name is Frederick,” my sister informed me.
I got close enough that the camera nearly touched him on some of the shots, and my brother reached out to pet the little fuzzball, giving it just a few soft strokes. Frederick never woke. Too busy enjoying the morning snooze in the surprisingly warm February sun.
While capturing our little friend on camera, I took a guess that Frederick was a brown bat. My friend Julia, of That’s So Science, later helped me confirm (after proclaiming, in all caps, her love for bats in the comments of a photo on Facebook) that Frederick is of the species Myotis lucifugus, commonly known as the little brown bat.
Yeah, I don’t think a whole lot of thought went into that name.
“Hey, what kind of bat is that?”
“Oh, uh…that’s a little brown bat.”
“Yeah, I can see what it looks like, but what kind is it, specifically.”
“Well, um…it’s specifically…a little brown bat.”
“You have no idea, do you? You’re just making this up.”
“HEY! HEY! Are you an expert on bats? Hm?”
“Then you can shut your damn mouth. It’s a little brown bat because I’m a scientist and I freaking said so, got it?”
I hope we’ll see more of Frederick. Even if he (or maybe she; I’m no expert on bat genders) decides to steer of the local houses and the paparazzi-like ways of those residing within, I’m hoping future explorations can help me locate where he usually hangs his hat (not to mention his entire body).
Sleep well, Frederick.
UPDATE: As of March 1st, Frederick is confirmed dead. Long live Frederick’s photogenic legacy. Hoping to catch a glimpse of him taking flight, my sister and I stood outside during dusk. After night fell, and he hadn’t taken off, my dad tapped the screen, and Frederick fell off. He stayed on the ground, unmoving. We’re not sure if he was dead, then, or not, but he certainly was today, still plopped in the same spot. It’s kind of sad, having named him and formed an attachment and all that, but at least I got some neat shots, and was inspired to study and learn a great deal about the little brown bat…and all possible illnesses and ailments that might have taken Frederick down.