Friday, August 18, 2006

Holy Midnight Hunt, Batman!

I like to think of myself as a nature girl--or at least being comfortable with Nature. I camped at least once a month (well, June throuogh September, anyway, being in Michigan) from the time I was nine or ten until I went off to college. I played with snakes, I fed orphaned fawns, I led an orphaned fox on a leash; I even did some survival camping (i.e., dig a hole for the latrine, cook over a fire...). I'm not normally a squeamish person. So you'd think I could survive a bat in the house.

You would be wrong.

Last night I decided to check email one last time before heading to bed (I had sent off an email to several friends, and I was curious about the responses), against my better judgement (usually emails right before bed mean sleepless nights). I sat down at my desk, hit the "power on" button on my trusty laptop, and sat back to watch it go through its startup routine. It was then that I noticed the shadow fluttering around on the walls and the ceiling. "Geez, that's a big moth," I thought. "Maybe it's a Luna!" (I have always wanted to see a live Luna moth, and I couldn't imagine what other moth would be so large in these latitudes). I swung around to look--and it was a bat, fluttering towards me in that alarming way bats have of seeming slightly tipsy and uncertain of their flight path.

I jumped up and ran out of the room, screaming, if you will excuse the expression, like a girl. "Omigod, Omigod, there's a bat in there!" I screeched, closing the door to my study and hyperventilating. DP calmly says, "Well, reach in and turn off the light, then close the door. However it got in, it can get out the same way."

"No, my computer's on, I've got to turn it off!" (I've been having "issues" with the battery in my not-so-trusty laptop)

I dashed in, ducking and turning to avoid the poor terrified bat, to turn off the computer. I opened the door to the attic (which opens off my study) to let the critter get back upstairs and out, as I was assuming that it got in through a partially opened (although screened) window in the attic.

We closed the door, made sure it was latched, and went to bed. Twenty minutes later, I was awakened by the thump and clatter of Big Cat jumping after something, and DP said resignedly, "I think the bat got out."

I sat up, turned on the light, and sure enough, there was Kamikaze Bat, once again swooping madly about, trying to avoid the cat, the slowly-turning ceiling fan, the walls, and us. It came straight at me, and I reprised my shriek of earlier.

We got up, turned on all the lights upstairs in an effort to drive it downstairs, and I called the city hall information number, hoping that 1) Animal Control would come catch a bat, and 2) they would do it at 12:30 am (as recorded on my Zen clock at bedside). No to both. "If it's outside, like rats, we can lay poison," said the not-very-helpful young man at the city information desk (which did answer the phone at 12:30 am). "But if it's inside, you have to take care of that yourself--like maybe call a pest control company. But you'll probably have to call them in the morning. Are you sure it was a bat? I didn't think we had bats here."

Eedjit. I was very sure it was a bat--I know the difference between a bat and a moth, or a bat and a bird...Humph.

So DP and I had to concoct a plan. We devised one that involved "herding" the bat onto our back mudroom-type porch, from which it could escape through an open door. The bat had other ideas. It ended up in the bathroom, clinging to the bathmat draped over the side of the tub (so I got an extremely good look at it, and yes, it was a BAT). I took the screen out of the bathroom window, turned off the light, closed the bathroom door, and we blocked the bottom of the door with towels (I understand they can get through very small spaces). We went to bed.

This morning, the bat is gone. The cats have lost what they thought was a great play-toy. The screen has to get back in the window. The towels did their job.

Mr. M. slept through the whole thing. Guard dog, hah!

So, anyone want to clean the attic with me?

Our nocturnal visitor, the Little Brown Bat, AKA myotis lucifugis.

Another view, to get an idea of size (i.e., quite small and not worth the shrieking...). I should add that they eat bugs (i.e. the evil mosquito) and this one couldn't have hurt me if it tried. I am deeply shamed by my behavior...well, embarrassed, anyway!


Rainbow Pastor said...

And just one more note--if my Latin hasn't deserted me totally (and Ms. McCoy, my high school Latin teacher would be most disturbed if it has), the critter's Latin name means, "blind flying devil."

On the other hand, my last Latin class was when dinisaurs walked the earth, so I'm very fallible.

Rainbow Pastor said...

OK, so lucifugis actually mean "fleeing from the light." Still can't find an actual translation of myotis.

Rainbow Pastor said...


revabi said...

Uh be very careful cleaning up your attic, and there might be more, and be sure you find out how the one gotin there so it can be sealed, you really don't want more.

One of the churches in Wadley, where I was before, but not my church had several infestations of bats, bat droppings, etc. It took forever to get rid of them.

But now that I see your latin for bat,"blind flying devil", it makes me wonder.

Marie said...

Ye gods, woman. Small or not, I would have screamed and screamed. I call it most warranted.

Teri said...

bats are nice and they won't hurt you. I promise they're not scary and they don't like to be around noise or excessive movement. The problem is in the check the attic in the daytime sometime, I guess!
good luck...and sorry for the midnight fright! I can't believe the city people were so unhelfpul!

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