No, they aren’t crebain from Dunland, sorry Legolas. These are bats. Tens of thousands of them, roosting in the trees of our home. Some of them have a wingspan over one meter. Big bats.

It’s taken us literally months to figure out how to get rid of them. We started with the basics: explosives. This didn’t work at all. The bats just moved to different trees. Eventually they weren’t afraid of the explosives. They simply adapted. And, the rockets cost about $5 a piece, bought from an Indian merchant during Diwali.

Then we hired a fumigator that put buckets in the trees filled with an EPA-banned substance that the bats didn’t like. That cost $170 and lasted for about a month.

Next, we brought in bat hunters form the north that not only hunt bats, but also eat them (and no, they aren’t getting Ebola, as best as we can tell). this only worked on a very small scale.

We had a few locals tell us that the real solution was to burn tires. Lots and lots of tires. This has an obvious problem: the tires are toxic to humans. After a bunch of local research, we found that neem branch smoke worked just as well and was not only non-toxic to humans, but also chased mosquitos. We went with this solution, and so far, it’s worked. The guys that came to chase the bats are professionals. All they do is chase bats. Not only do they burn the neem but they also have awesome whistles and can make a ton of noise to scare the bats. This worked!

As an aside, I think these guys really scammed us. They approached me on the last day and told us that one of their crew died. They told me he dropped dead after a bout of Malaria. This is highly unlikely because Malaria wears you down to the point that you can’t move long before it kills you. But, being generous (or stupid) I gave them money toward transportation and the burial. The total bill came to about $400.

However, the scouts are returning so we have to keep piles of brush and neem on hand to smoke out the scouts before they call their friends.

Yet another day in Africa. =)