Wednesday, September 01, 2010

We can't stop here! This is Bat Country!

Or: Why I Only Got 35 Minutes of Sleep

Late last night I was sitting in my living room, engrossed in Pillars of the Earth, when out of the corner of my eye I catch the fluttering of some winged thing above one of the windows. As it disappears behind the crown moulding I'm thinking, "that's one hell of a big moth!"

So I call my son into the room and ask him to get rid of it. His vision being quite a bit better than mine, he informs me "that's not a moth, Mom!"

As my 8-bit brain begins to process this information, Not-a-Moth comes lunging out from behind the moulding and swoops down directly at me. I hit the deck shrieking "How did a bird get in the house???" as the thing starts flying in circles above me. Around and around and around it goes, and as it dips down in front of me I realize Not-A-Moth is Not-A-Bird either! It's a BAT!

My son and I commando crawl out of the living room and into the kitchen where we try to decide on a plan of action to get the bat out of the house. The best approach we can come up with is also the simplest: open the front door and hope it'll fly out. In the meantime, the fluttering from the living room has stopped and we learn a Valuable Lesson: don't lose sight of the bat. They can crawl into small spaces and hide. Duh.

Luckily, we spot it dangling from above the doorway. The very doorway we'll have to pass under to get to the front door. Great.

To keep things fair, we do rocks, paper, scissors to see who gets the honor of trying to ninja past a critter with an extremely sensitive sense of hearing. I knew I shouldn't have gone with paper.

With a bath towel over my head (I do not want this thing flying into my hair!), and armed with a dust pan and spatula, I slowly edge my way through the dining room towards the front door. Talk about your longest walk! Inch by inch I make my way to the front door and the only thing that's going through my pea-brain is how badly I will hurt my son if he does anything to startle the bat. Said son is maintaining a safe distance behind me with the broom and a pot lid, his job being to flush the bat towards the door once I have it open.

I manage to make it to the door without disturbing the bat, and slooooowly open it. The bat immediately feels a change in air flow, drops from it's perch and begins making loop-de-loops over my head again. I duck and cover while my son waves the broom around and, lo and behold, the bat flies out! We did it! We are bat removal geniuses!

After things have settled down, I decide to learn more about these critters. I do a little Wiki Wandering and learn that... uh oh... bats are social creatures. Where there's one there's more than likely others.

They like to roost in attics and I know we have some missing soffits on the house. How they could enter the house from the attic is also a no-brainer. We cut a big access hole in the ceiling of one bedroom so we could crawl into the attic while installing things such as light fixtures and heating ducts/vents (none of which this house had when I bought it) and we left it open because I still need to get up there to add some insulation. So right. This means we need to don our protective gear once again and head upstairs to check for more bats.

We go through the rooms one by one and sure enough, there's another bat dangling from the wall above the window in my room. Peachy. It's almost 2 AM at that point and probably 90 degrees in the house so we decide we'll just close the door and wait until morning to deal with it.

So I slept in the living room last night with all the lights on, waking up at every little noise. Even after two cups of coffee this morning I'm still feeling a bit grumpy cakes. My son called Animal Control to see if they could be of assistance but had to leave a message on their voice mail. Like every other public services department in this city, Animal Control must only work the second Thursday after the full moon from 7:45 to 10:15 AM. (But just try to burn a shovel full of disgustingly smelly leaves and twigs that you dug up after removing and burying the decaying carcass of a woodchuck and you'll have a cop on your front step within five minutes of lighting the match. It's true.)

I would dearly love to get some sleep tonight, so unfortunately this means we're going to have to take care of the bat (or bats) ourselves. I've put it off as long as I could, but I think it's time to suit up and head upstairs. Hopefully the bat is as exhausted as I am.

Wish me luck!


Daffycat said...

*faints* You mean you stayed there? LOL I might have gone to a hotel myself!

connie said... make it sound so funny..We have had 2 bats in our house..seems I am always laying on the couch when they swoop through the livingroom..I scream..through a blanket over my head and crawl out the door while my husband or son gets rid of the bat..