By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have long been well known as sanctuaries to birds as well as squirrels, and in late 2015, the park-filled property was even visited by a coyote.
Still, a Peter Cooper Village mom was shocked on Saturday morning when she and her young son spotted a bat lying on the ground.
Additionally, the bat, which was motionless near 2 Peter Cooper Road, did not appear to be in good shape.
“I thought it was dead because it was lying face up on the ground,” the mom, Lisa Kuklinski, later told Town & Village. “Then I got closer and I could see it was trying to breathe.”
For a moment, she thought about taking it home, “but I don’t know anything about bats,” she said. So, instead Kuklinski called the Public Safety department. She went out again a couple of hours later but by then the bat was gone.
She isn’t sure what happened to the bat to cause it to have lost the use of its wings. “I don’t know if one of the hawks got it.”
Hawks have been spotted more frequently in ST/PCV, as T&V reported in February.
Fortunately, the bat did make it off the pavement alive, according to management.
Marynia Kruk, community affairs manager at StuyTown Property Services, told us, “Wildlife is a part of the charm of our community and at Stuy Town, that wildlife includes bats. That bat that Ms. Kuklinski found and called Public Safety about was removed by one of our officers. We found a Good Samaritan who is nursing it back to health and hopes to release it into a park next week. In the future, when residents come across injured animals, they can call either 311 or Public Safety.”
Following the incident, Kuklinski posted about the sighting on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Facebook page, where later, a couple of neighbors piped in to say they too have seen bats in the complex recently.
Kuklinski, meanwhile, is officially a fan of the winged mammals.
“Bats are very good for the environment because they eat a lot of mosquitoes,” Kuklinski said. “We need bats, but similarly to the honey bees, they’ve been dying off.”
Dr. Timothy Mann, owner of Whole Health Veterinary Hospital, said the bat could be a member of the eastern red series, after looking at a photo Kuklinksi took of it.
However, he noted, they should only be out at night, and he advised anyone who sees a bat to be aware that bats do carry rabies, and there is evidence they can also carry a bacterial disease called Leptosiprosis.
Eastern red bats are generally four inches in length with a 12-inch wing span and eat insects, moths mostly.
According to Bat Conservation International, this species of bat is the most common “tree bat” in North America. A bio at batcon.org reads, in part:
“Despite their bright red color, these bats are actually rather cryptic, looking like dead leaves or pine cones. They are perfectly camouflaged as they hang curled-up in their furry tail membranes, suspended from a single foot, twisting slightly in the breeze. For the most part, red bats are solitary, coming together only to mate and to migrate. Females even roost singly when rearing young. Unlike most bats, Eastern red bats often give birth to twins and can have litters of up to five young, though three young is average.
“Mothers leave their young alone at night when they go out to feed, but if necessary, they will move them to new locations. Pups begin flying at three to four weeks and are weaned only a few weeks later. In the summertime red bats are among the earliest evening fliers, typically feeding around forest edges, in clearings, or around street-lights where they consume predominantly moths. In the fall they perform long-distance migrations using the same migratory routes along the Atlantic seaboard as many birds. In the late 1800s, there were reports of large migratory flocks passing over in the daytime, but no such sightings have been made this century.”