Bats nesting behind mural of St. Francis of Assisi get a wake-up call

These were among the 84 bats found nesting behind a mural on a home in Menlo Park. Photo provided by the Peninsula Humane Society.

Daily Post Staff Writer

A crew hired to power wash a home in Menlo Park found nearly 100 bats nesting behind a mural of the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi, a Peninsula Humane Society spokeswoman said yesterday (Dec. 27).

When the workers took down the mural from the side of the house Tuesday, the bats began to wake up, but were pretty lethargic, said spokeswoman Buffy Martin Tarbox.

Some slid down the side of the house onto the ground, which made the workers worry that they were injured, Tarbox said.

The workers called the humane society, whose employees spent about two hours attempting to corral the bats.

They were able to take 83 of the winged mammals back to the society’s Burlingame office to make sure they were all right, according to Tarbox.

The bats were nesting behind the mural on this home in Menlo Park. Photo provided by the Peninsula Humane Society.

The bats checked out just fine, Tarbox said, and were re-released in the yard of the same home. Many of the newly freed bats went straight back to the mural. The homeowner was willing to allow the bats to resume their residency behind the mural. Tarbox said the homeowner wished to remain anonymous.

Many homes have bats

Tarbox said it’s likely that other homeowners may also have some winged neighbors and not know about it. That’s because bats are nocturnal. And bats may also be easy to miss since Mexican free-tailed bats, the type that live on the Peninsula, have an average height of 3.5 inches.

These bats are also pretty quiet besides the occasional “chirping” sound they make, Tarbox said.
But bats make good neighbors because they eat mainly mosquitoes and moths.

The Mexican-free tailed bat is listed as a “species of special concern” because their numbers are decreasing due to a lack of places to live.

This is the largest number of bats the humane society has ever taken care of at one time, said Tarbox. Typically, the humane society gets one or two bats a month, who have usually been injured or are sick.

If anyone discovers they have bats living on or in their home, they can call the humane society at (650) 340-7022.