Monday, August 10, 2009

weekend mystery number dos

Miss Marple herself would abandon this mystery.

There is no death -- at least, not yet.

But there are strange goings on up at the Algodón manse.

You already know I spend most of my time on the patio on the ground level of the Melaque house.

Hammock. Swallows. Sitting area for reading. Jiggs's sleeping bag.

But there is also a wet bar. And the sink and counter are the mystery.

Even before I arrived, very distinct droppings started appearing on the counter. You can see them in the photograph at the top of the post.

Those of you who jump ahead have probably already identified our culprit as a mouse. If you have, you have picked the wrong suspect. The strainer in the sink drain is too small to accommodate a mouse.

The droppings are a bit more exotic. They come from the visiting bat or bats.

Or so I have suspected.

But I have yet to see a bat roosting in that area. I have stopped in at various times of the evening and night. But I have yet to catch a bat using the Talavera outhouse.

Saturday afternoon, I thought I had trapped a new suspect. I heard a tapping sound in the sink. It looked as if someone had placed a ball or something over the sink drain hole, and something underneath was attempting to escape.

Like a magician's assistant, I picked up the "ball," with an appropriate flourish, to reveal -- nothing, nada. Other than an empty drain.

I then looked at what I had in my hand. It was a large hermit crab. "Large" because it was in a shell the size of a fine escargot -- a subtle woman's fist.

So, I now have two mysteries.

One. Is that really bat guano? If so, where are the bats?

Two. How did a large hermit crab make it all the way up on the counter, merely to get trapped in the sink? Are the bats now offering crabby passenger service?

Warning to anyone considering retirement. This is the type of thing that will soon add fascination to your days.


norm said...

My bet is that you have bats. My barn has piles of their waste and I have yet to see one roosting. They are so small that they fit in cracks that seem too small for a bug, let alone an animal the size of a mouse. Bats are social animals that tend to pass their germs around so keeping their waste in check is good policy. They eat a ton of bugs so they help keeps us safe from the insect germs, they are good to have around, we just have to clean up after them like any other critter we keep around the house...

Felipe said...

Mouse shit and bat shit look very similar. If that is bat shit, look directly overhead, mi amiguito. That is where they will be doing their daytime dozing. It will be hidden.

I love bats. They are our friends.

Steve Cotton said...

Norm -- I am positive about the bat theory. I have seen them flying through that area in the evening.

Felipe -- I share your enthusiasm for bats. But I cannot figure out where they are roosting. The area above the sink has no hidden ledges. Perhaps they merely stop by in the night sometime. Odd.

Chrissy y Keith said...

they can cling to the cemet wall. I had one just yesterday morning doing that outside my front door. A good omen I think. He was a Mexican short tail bat.

Babs said...

So now you have "bats in your belfry"?

Anonymous said...

could it be giant cockroaches? just kidding! i like bats too. i once saved one that was drowning in a pool-with a net of course. i later wondered if it was rabid, but i couldn't just let it drown.

as for the crab-hmmm. maybe it fell into the sink fter crawling across and the surface was just too smooth for it to crawl back out.

have a great week. we're due for rain after a very cloudy but waterless week! such crazy weather-send us some heat. i almost prefer the 105 to this.


Leslie Limon said...

Those dropping could very well be bat droppings. But don't underestimate mice. Over the years, I have become somewhat of an expert and believe me, there are tiny mice in this world that can make there way in through anything!!! I hope you find out what it is soon!

Nancy said...

Bat droppings. For sure in my book. We had them up North, they went into the tiny vertical cracks on the siding where it met the roof, and every day there were these little poops stuck to the siding and on the floor. But they eat so many bugs I was happy to have them.

Howard said...

I suspect geckos.

Constantino said...

Too much poop for mice, has to be bats, look in the belfry!

Anonymous said...

I vote mouse, having seen quite a few of those in my lifetime and not many bat droppings. Or, are there frogs about? Whatever it is, it is quite prolific! You mentioned last week that the Professor was having some difficulties with his back legs. How is he doing? Hope there is some improvement for the old guy. Any decisions made on your housing for the winter? Enquiring minds want to know!

Ruth said...

Maybe the bats brought the hermit crab as a thank you gift for letting them hangout at your house.

Anonymous said...

Is there a light over the sink that is left on in the evening? Perhaps the bugs are attracted to the light and the bats to the bugs....I have seen tiny bats that look just like the bark on trees that roost on the side of the trees in plain sight. It is really difficult to pick them out.

Islagringo said...

I would agree bats. Bats cannot lift off with dropping first. So look up. As for the crab, I have seen them skitter straight up a wall. They are very dextrous.

Steve Cotton said...

Chrissy -- But you would think I would see it clinging there at least once during my visits.

Babs -- Not the first diagnosis of that particular condition.

Teresa -- I have never seen a crab that size climb smooth walls. But I guess it is possible. We are getting some long-desired and awaited rain as I type -- lightning and all.

Leslie -- Mice was a possibility, but the counter is literally covered in only three days' time. A mouse would have a terrible problem if he could do that.

Nancy -- I hope it is a bat or bats. They fascinate me. I would just like to see where it is roosting. There is iterally nowhere for it to go.

Howard -- Too concentrated, I think. But possible.

Constantino -- The belfry theory will be a subsequent post, I think. (The house's; not mine.)More photographs for you mystery fans.

Anonymous -- No housing decision, yet. Jiggs is still having a lot of trouble getting up. Tomorrow I may even take him with me to my Spanish lesson. I hate to leave him alone.

Ruth -- Or the bats are using crabs as paratrooper.

Anonymous 2 -- No lights are left on downstairs. But the area over the sink would be a great place for a bat to hang -- while chowing down on delicious bugs.

Islagringo -- If it is a bat, I have not managed to catch it during its roosting period.

glorv1 said...

I sure would not like to find that stuff on my countertop and next to what looks like Talavera dishware. How gross. You can wash the dish and mail it to me if you please, but not that residue.:D Hello to Jiggy and hugs to Jiggy.
oooooh how awful that stuff looks. It really looks like RAT droppings. Ayeeeeeeeee!!

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- It is a Talvera sink. In about three days, the sink and the counter are covered. Marta and I can clean it up quickly, but it is always a full handful -- of guano. Of course, it is no worse than cleaning up after Jiggs.

Laurie said...

Ugh. Bat droppings. I left NOLA yesterday and I noted something had eaten a hole in the shower curtain. There were teeth marks. I warned my roomie to be VERY careful. I hope it's just a mouse. Not a rat, or a bat.

Anonymous said...

My guess?

The southern cone tufted basselope. Those droppings are extremely characteristic. Of course the species is normally shy, retiring, and seldom seen.

But beware! If you should happen to corner one, they can become surprisingly ferocious, and the venom, if not promptly treated, can be fatal.

Be careful!


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where a surprising number of "urban animals" seem to occupy our back yard and neighborhood.

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- I doubt it would be a bat. Holes usually mean rodents, and I see little value in the breed.

Kim -- You must have been talking with my garderner. If it moves in the yard, it is poisonous -- not just poisonous, the most poisonous in Mexico. I am surprised there is any wildlife around.