Woman In India Lives With 500 Bats
Shantaben Prajapati is a 73-year-old lady who lives in a small village in Rajpura, Gujarat in India. In her village, she is known as the Bat Lady. It all started 20 years ago, when all of her neighbors had old mud houses. Then they started upgrading and renovating their homes. That is when these little night mammals started entering her old mud house.
First she noticed a single bat hanging from the ceiling of one of her rooms, but after a while a bat invasion had begun. At the beginning, she was scared of them and even tried to remove them but now, between 500 and 1000 bats come every single day to roost in her house. They fly in and out as they please.
"At first, I tried to remove them, but it is considered a sin, so I let them be. I have had them for all these years in my house and I look after them. There was only one bat at first. Then the numbers slowly started to increase." says Shantaben.
Since then, her home turned into a bat shelter where she welcomes the critters, feeds them and takes care of them. Same as any other pet, bats have their favorite food too - they love bananas.
Some of her neighbors are bothered by the smell the bats leave behind, while others salute her noble gesture. Shantaben is sweeping and swabbing the floors and walls of her house everyday. She also burns neem leaves to maintain hygiene.
"People ask why I keep the bats and say that I will fall sick and my house will stink. But burning the leaves and swabbing the floors and walls takes care of it. And how can I get rid of the bats? They are like family now," she says.
Kids seem to love this “mysterious” lady, so they stop by on their way to school to see the animals. "Sometimes the children come to see them and hear their 'chee chee' noises." says the old lady.