Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's like herding bats

Photo: Bats at dusk.

Crawled into bed at a late hour, tired from too much time spent in the car. While Jim was reading, I noticed something fluttering around the ceiling. Did a big moth fly in? Do we have a bird in the here? It fluttered closer. No. That's no bird. Nor is it a moth. That winged creature's a bat. "Jim! We've got a bat in here!" I cried. It darted across the room. "Really? Oh sh*t."

We jumped out of bed and tried to figure out what to do. No time to wonder how it arrived in our bedroom, just wanted it out. It flew into the bathroom. We closed the door and pried the screen off of the small window. Waving our arms furiously, we tried to shoo it out into the cool night air. It just flew around in circles, screeching with its high pitched voice. Flying around and around, wingbeats audible as it passed my ear, it didn't know where to go. Suddenly another bat appeared in the room. It flew in through the open window. Great! Now we had two freaked out bats flying around our heads. The new one must have heard the cries of the trapped bat and came through the window to investigate. Not too smart, neither one could figure out how to fly back out again. We shut the window and got them back into our bedroom. We have a sliding glass door that opens onto a small balcony. We opened the door and turned on the light outside, hoping they might head towards the light where tasty bugs were ready to be eaten. The bats just kept flying all around the room, swooping past our heads, skirting around the corners of the room, seeking a way to escape.

Photo: This is not my bat. It is only a photo of a bat.

I grabbed a sheet and Jim ran downstairs and grabbed an old fishing net. Together we tried to herd them outside, through the open door. I waved the sheet furiously, and Jim would swing the net, hoping to grab a bat in flight. One actually flew outside, only to return a moment later. Argh! Frustrated. The bats kept circling and circling. We kept chasing them and scaring them. Finally a bat flew out the door for good. One down, one to go.

The little brown bat (or was it a big brown bat?) was getting tired. Who knows how long it was in our house, trying to get out? Who knows how it got inside? I just wanted it gone. It kept trying to perch on our ceiling, but it couldn't get a grip. I flew into our closet trying to find a place to hide. We chased it and Jim caught it in his net. Only the net also caught one of my hairclips and the bat escaped. We were all getting tired at this point.

Jim and I switched weapons. I took up the fishing net, he grabbed the sheet. More circling ensued. I followed the creature into the closet a couple of times, narrowly missing it as it dodged the net. Then, as it was about to fly past me, I swung my arm and got it! I pressed the metal opening up against the wall of the closet and clasped my hand above the netted bat. Time to go outside! We took the frightened thing to the balcony and gently opened up the net. It was tangled and clinging on for dear life. We tried to unravel it, and left it so it could fly away.

Off to bed where we both saw imaginary bats flying past our heads as we drifted off to sleep.

In the morning I went back to the balcony. The bat was asleep, still in the net! It had a wing caught and couldn't fly away. I grabbed my garden gloves, scissors, and jacket and sat down to extricate the bat from the net. I woke it up and it tried to move away from me. It was trembling from fear or cold or both. I got a chance to get a good look at it. It had very soft, brown fur, tiny eyes, minuscule feet, and very delicate skin stretched across its bony fingers that formed its wings. It had its mouth open and I could see many sharp, tiny teeth, perfect for eating flying insects or biting me. It voiced it's complaint when I picked it up. I gently pulled the net away from the bat, making sure I didn't tear its wings. It kept a firm grasp on the net, making it very hard to remove. I ran inside and grabbed a silk wine bag. I figured I could get it to go into the dark bag, where it would feel safe and let it recuperate in a soft, dark, warm place. I snipped one thread on the net to free the caught wing. It started to come loose. I nudged the bat inside the silk bag and it grasped onto it. Eventually I was able to get the little thing into the bag. Success! I set it down on a corner of the balcony, with the top of the bag slightly open. I left it alone and went to eat breakfast. When I went back, about 45 minutes later, the bag was empty. Our little visitor had flow away!

Now we're trying to figure out what happened. How did it get in here? Will it return? I hope not.

Yes, I thought about rabies. Since it appeared to be a healthy bat, active at night, I'm not too worried. I wore gloves when I handled it. Plus, I was not scratched nor bitten. If it should happen again, I will keep the bat and have it tested. Calling all bats, consider this a warning!


Anonymous said...

Bat cheese anyone? I think you may have found your niche market!

Angelina said...

I wouldn't want a bat flying around in my house either but I admit I kind of like them. Such weird creatures. What a great story this makes though!