A few weeks ago thieves broke into a nearly complete house nearby and ripped out the underfloor heating system getting away with a few hundred pounds of copper pipe but causing some thirty thousand pounds worth of damage. A day later one policeman turned up to 'take the details'. Three days later not far away two dead bats where spotted lying in a road opposite a building site in a village. Four police cars turned up with seven policemen! The building site was shut down immediately even though as bats are nocturnal and builders tend to knock off at 5 pm so, logically, it seemed highly unlikely, if not impossible, for the builders to have had anything to do with this major crime. Bats thiugh are now more important than people. If you question anyone why this is so they quote the European Endangered Species Directive on bats.
Now personally I don't have anything against bats -although I do draw the line at sharing my bedroom with them - in fact I rather subscribe to a school of thought which says having bats in your roof space is a good thing as they tend to eat insects and bugs. They are, I am told , especially fond of the Death Watch Beetle, a nasty bug which is so virile that it will bore into solid oak and can cause enormous damage to ancient buildings. Apparently the Death Watch Beetle, when it sticks its head out of the bit of wood it is feasting on, makes a distinctive tapping noise, and Mr. Bat swoops down and gobbles him up there and then.
Having said all that it does strike me that we have got things out of proportion and I do doubt whether bats are nearly as endangered as their fans say they are. Could it be that we have all been suckered into believing they are endangered simply because they come out at night so few people see them? Certainly when I take the dogs out on a summers evening just when it's got dark the air is full of bats.