Sunday, July 31, 2016

In Which I Rescue A Bat

     0915.  "Slumberland?"  Hah.  Slumberland has a landscape -- well, dreamscape.  There's stuff there, albeit occasionally terrifying and sometimes in black-and-white.  Where I was, there was nothing, a nothing somehow pure, soft, fuzzy, egoless black.  I was out.  O-U-T.  Something made a sound and suddenly I wasn't.

     Sound, beeping...beeping, phone.  The phone!  I opened my eyes, rolled on my side and scrabbled for it, fumbling as much with the concept of grasping as with the actual grasping.

     "Bobbi?  This is your neighbor."  The Democrat.  "There's a bat in my bathtub.  And I think another one is dead under a bucket.  Can you come over and get them?  I have another person I can call, but he'll probably kill it.  I know you won't."
     "Okay,  but it'll take a little while.  I was asleep."

     Fifteen minutes later, clothed, hair more-or-less brushed, clutching leather work gloves and a used flattish Express Mail cardboard box that I had opened and collapsed, I was at her front door.   She led me into her washroom, where a dark-brown towel was crumpled in the tub.  I held it up and checked both sides.  No bat?  No bat.

     Over the course of the next ten minutes, I checked every narrow, dark location in that tiny room that might appeal to a bat, and a few that weren't all that dark, in case the bat was desperate.  Nothing.

     "I'm not finding the bat."
     "It was in the tub.  The cats had been chasing it."
     She has between five and seven cats (and a half-dozen big and well-maintained litterboxes in the basement).  They've never hurt a bat but they deem them to be excellent toys.  A bat that has run the Democrat's cat-gauntlet is usually too exhausted to do anything but crawl to a safe spot and hang on.  A safe spot like a dark-brown towel.

     I picked up the towel again and gave it a good flap.  A small, dark-brown bat landed on floor next to the tub and clicked at me.  It looked like an angry version of the Batman logo.  I got a plastic tub over it and tried to get the flattened box underneath.  Nothing doing.  The bat was hanging onto the floor for dear life.  So I tossed the plastic tub to one side and opened the box just a little at the end nearest the bat, while keeping the far end pinched shut: a bat-friendly space, narrow and dark.  The bat thought this was a Very Good Idea and crawled inside.*

     "[Neighbor], I've got the bat!  Open the door."  She did, and with the cats following interestedly, we made a procession to the front door, where I shook the bat out into a Boston fern hanging in shade under her porch roof.  It crept into the stems and laid there, sides heaving.

     We went back for the possible other bat, but never found it.  She had thrown a jacket over it, and a plastic pail over that.  I went through the jacket three times without finding a bat, and it wasn't clinging to the inside of the pail, either.  She admitted it might have been the same bat, and given that the pail had only covered a little of the jacket, a bat could have sneaked out, especially if it was trying to escape cats.

     When I left (after spending some time with her and her cats), the Boston fern no longer held a bat.  It had fluttered off, we hoped to to safety.

     This is the second or third time I have rescued a bat at her house.  Remember, they eat skeeters!  Any creature that gets rid of mosquitoes is worth keeping around, in my opinion.
* I got a good look at the bat during this process and it had a normal dark nose.  White-nose syndrome has become a problem in Indiana, especially further south.  I think it's more common among cave-dwelling bats, some kind of fungus.


RandyGC said...

The church where my Scout Troop held their meetings had a good collection that hung around. Occasionally one would find it's way to the basement meeting hall, resulting in much hilarity and entertainment until we could shoo it out a window or door.

Although,having ingested a steady diet of Dracula movies, books and comics, along with Dark Shadows growing up, I've always have a slight feeling of unease in the background when I see one. I assumed one flying around in a church was unlikely to materialize into Christopher Lee or Jonathan Frid however ;-)

fillyjonk said...

Bats give me the collywobbles, mainly because of the (I now know, somewhat false) impression that they are Giant Reservoirs For Rabies. Yes, it's possible for them to carry it but raccoons (which I don't much like either) are a bigger reservoir.

I hope one never gets in my house. I know in theory how I could evict it - drive up to school, borrow one of the insect sweep nets, find the bat, sweep it up in the net, let it go out the door - but that seems a pretty high level of functioning for someone who would be running around going "BAT BAT BAT BAT IT'S GONNA GO IN MY HAIR I KNOW IT" (Yes: also false but old impressions die hard)

I'm a biologist but I still think I'm allowed to have one or two animals species I just can't deal with.

David Eichenberg said...

Ah yes. Bats were regular visitors to the fish hatchery I worked in. We would catch them in nets, and sometimes someone at the college would want them. Mostly they were excommunicated from the building, as we hadn't figured out how to make salmon flies with them.

David Eichenberg said...

Ah yes. Bats were regular visitors to the fish hatchery I worked in. We would catch them in nets, and sometimes someone at the college would want them. Mostly they were excommunicated from the building, as we hadn't figured out how to make salmon flies with them.

Anonymous said...

That must be the best neighbor in the entire history of neighborliness.

Monty James

Phillip said...

I hate mosquitoes, therefore I love bats. I find their flapping and diving to be loads of entertainment.

My wife and I are planning on buying a house next year. If there are any mosquitoes, my first project will be building a bat house and figuring out how to get it occupied. Hopefully there won't be need to evict them from the human house.

I only hope I end up with neighbors like you.

Anonymous said...

That is just batty....

Roberta X said...

Monty: she's an excellent neighbor! Votes wrong, but that's about her only fault.