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Sprog-witch (nearly 4) loves animals. Her love extends to fleas, slugs, bugs of all descriptions as well as the more accessible fluffy ones. Her latest obsession is bats, partly because we have our yearly lodgers in the loft. I am not talking about stowaways, I am talking about Pipistrelle bats. These come back every spring to fornicate noisily in my rafters, and then when the babies are big enough, they all go out in a bat gang to hunt moths and flies at dusk. Bats are protected of course, but even if they were not, I would still be thrilled to have these living in my house. They are beautiful little creatures and very interesting to watch. Occasionally over the years I have had to rescue a few Pips as one of my cats has decided to grab one (God knows how he manages this), and this has resulted in me donning gloves (a Pip's mouth is pretty tiny but they will try to bite if scared) and popping said casualty in a box with some water and a tea towel, then taking it to the local "Bat lady". Pips do NOT carry rabies but rabies has been found in some other species so please wear gloves if rescuing a bat. (For more info please go here: http://www.essexbatgroup.org.uk/Rescue%20Pages/bat_advice_rescue.html) My daughter asked me for a cuddly bat toy.... we spent a while on Amazon looking through the selection, and we eventually settled on this one. This was one of the only ones that we found that had the fluffy factor as well as the ability to wrap the wings around the body, like a bat would when roosting. Our bat is called " Jak" and he has fitted into the family well. JAK THE BAT: This little bat is 18cm in length and is labelled as "fairly traded". He has a soft body which is tidily stitched, and the fur is a brown with black accents. His face and ears are a beige colour, and he has little plastic beady eyes which are tightly attached. Although much larger than a Pip bat, the features of this lack the "Disney" type cuteness inherent in many soft toys, and I am very glad about that. This bat has the leathery wings of a real bat, and although they are obviously much more sturdy than a real bat's wings, they do have the ability to wrap right around the body of the animal which is lifelike in pose. There is a little piece of velcro to keep the wings wrapped and my daughter loved this feature. GOING BATTY: This is a well made toy and a great educational aid if you are so inclined (we are) as there is so much that you can learn through a toy like this. My daughter of course cannot handle a real bat in person but she can watch them with me, and that is what we have planned again for this evening. We grab a torch, light the firepit, get hot chocolate and sit quietly watching the roof of the house. I am sure that we look quite mad but I am used to that. At dusk the bats leave the roof and we watch them flitting about catching flies. This toy bat is a useful way of teaching a child about how bats roost and can lead on to all sorts of conversations about bats and how useful they are to us. We home educate, so every toy that we get usually leads onto another activity, in this case we made bat chocolates, drew bats and made playdoh bats. We talked about how a bat sleeps and eats and of course watched their habits. QUALITY: The bat is wipe only (very useful as Jak has already been in the sand pit and garden a lot) but could possibly be hand washed with care. The fur on his body is plush, thick and well covered, and he is well crafted. He is a great size, not so small that he will get easily lost and not so large that he cannot be held in one hand by a young child. He has a cheeky face which is recognisably "bat" and a hook so that he can be hung upside down as if he was roosting properly. The wings are a type of chocolate brown vinyl to mimic the leathery quality of a bat's wings. He is a very sweet and well made toy for kids of all ages. FEATURES: * Designed by craftsmen and handmade * Surface washable * European safety standards EN71 BS5665 * Soft toy carries the CE label so it safe for children (not under 36 months) * Fairly Traded AVAILABILITY: This bat is made by Dowman Imports Ltd who sell on Amazon. He is priced at just £6.99 including postage, which is a great deal for a quality toy. Ten out of ten from us!