Thursday, July 02, 2009


Saw a lovely bat flying around the church yard last night. Bigger than a pipistrelle I reckon. Was chatting about this later and I told an old joke.

Clergy were discussing how to get rid of bats in their churches. The best suggestion was from an old, country parson who said, 'Well I baptised all mine and then had them confirmed; haven't seen them since.'

You probably heard it before. Thing is, as far as one of our group was concerned, someone not familiar with Christian ways but having lived four decades or so, you could see the tumbleweed blowing down her street. Why it was funny simply didn't register. People don't just not get baptised and confirmed any more, they don't even know what those things mean.

So anyway. How do you get rid of bats, a protected species? Another friend, who was once a country vicar, told me this. Bats are protected. But they won't live easily alongside pigeons. Pigeons can spread up to 37 different types of disease. You can't easily get a grant to remove pigeons from a church. Rats will, if hungry enough, eat pigeon eggs and chicks. Rats spread fewer diseases than pigeons but you can, often, get a grant to remove rats.

So, using the laws of the Church of England, he suggested that if you have bats, introduce pigeons then, when the bats have gone, introduce rats, then when the pigeons have gone, get a grant to remove the rats. Easy. If only. But a good story.


david said...

No need to get rid of them, just learn to enjoy living with them. After all, they kill thoudands of midges each evening! I also understand that they often prefer to set up colonies in new houses rather than old churches.

Mike Peatman said...

I gather bat poo is very corrosive and staining if they actually get into the Church. Surely there's an unltrasonic deterrent that would encourage them to thrive somewhere else?

Kathryn said...

It is indeed, Mike...Church in the village where we lived before I was ordained really struggled as there were several dozen bats in residence and only about 30 in the congregation - none of whom showed signs of wishing to clean up bat poo daily. In the end we managed to get permission to block their entrance routes into church won the grounds that they were roosting most specially over the altar - a "food preparation area". It worked!

Ali said...

I've an even better idea - never let on