Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Living With Bats

I love watching bats at night fly around in the evening twilight catching all those bugs that would otherwise try and suck my blood. This year, the bug problem hasn't been a problem so they have no water in which to breed in. Also related there aren't any birds around either since water is not to be found anywhere close by. But back to bats and my love for them, WHEN they aren't flying inside my house.

Three days ago, I had one of my spells where no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get to sleep. I got up and tried this and that and kept returning to bed only to watch the clock roll past one, two, three, four and five. As it rolled past five, I could feel my body finally wearing out and sleep descending on me. I knew I had to get up shortly but even a little over an hour and a half of sleep might be the difference between barely functional to totally crazy. As sleep enveloped me, I jumped three feet out of bed to the bloody murder screams coming from both of my daughters. Thinking some deranged lunatic was chasing them down the hall with a long knife, I hustled out of the bedroom and quickly ascertained that it was a deranged lunatic but a blood thirsty bat that was going to suck the life out of them.

I shushed them down, shut all the doors I could and spent an hour doing a sweep of the house but could find no bat. I bid anymore sleep an evening and suffered through the rest of the day. That evening we had a party to go to and took our oldest daughter with us while the youngest stayed home with my mother-in-law. When we got home late, I found the tennis racket that I still keep just for this occasion had moved but everyone was in bed and there were no signs of the bat. I learned the following day they had seen it again but it was still nowhere to be found.

My oldest looked up somewhere on line that they can only live 24 hours without food or water so I assumed that I would only find a bat carcass sometime in the future at this point. I didn't see him the rest of the day and we put the girls to bed that night with assurances that the bat was long since dead. The oldest closed her door just in case but the littlest one wasn't so sure. A half hour later as my wife and I were enjoying a peaceful evening, the littlest one came running out saying she had seen the bat. I assured her it was just her imagination and she cuddled with my wife on the couch. Our plan was to wait for her to fall asleep and transfer her to her bed. Fifteen minutes go buy when all of a sudden I see a bat come up the stairway, circle through the living, dining and kitchen  before diving back downstairs. Unfortunately the little one saw it too.

I did another fruitless search for the creature but he wasn't flying around and with a 1001 nooks and crannies to hide in, I gave up and just shut all the doors in the house hoping that I could get him trapped in one room where I might deal with him. The little one of course wouldn't be sleeping in her room that night so we made a pile of blankets beside our bed and she slept there only after she verified that the door was locked.

Day three dawns and life was progressing through morning almost towards noon when I heard the bloody murder scream again. This time I spotted the bat right outside my office inside the basement flying this way and that. I grabbed my tennis racket, opened up the basement walkout door and tried to shoo the thing outside. It instead crawled behind a framed picture on the wall. I took the picture off and again tried to shoo it around but it crawled into my bookcase. I shoo'd it out of the bookcase and I could see that getting it outside was a lost cause. I started taking swings and on the fifth or sixth attempt (those things never fly in straight lines), I clipped it enough that it landed on the floor.

The funny thing about bats is that they can't take off from a floor. They don't have enough power or lift to do so which is why they roost on ceilings or in places up high. So now I had a bat scrambling across the floor seeking shelter and the thought of four screaming girls who are afraid of them causing havock to my life until the poor thing finally died of starvation or thirst. So I did the only thing I could think of in the second or two I had left before it crawled into someplace I couldn't extract him. I put the poor guy out of his misery.

The young one immediately came down to see the bat up close and I took a picture of it to show the oldest as evidence that it is no longer among the living. Both were satisfied that it is gone and the days of cries of fear whenever they had to walk down the hallway or fetch something downstairs are over with, for now. We used to get the occasional bat at our old house and I had thought this was the first one we had here in the five years that we lived here but my oldest reminded me that we had one when we first moved here and I faintly remember that episode. So if the law of averages works out, I probably have another three to five years of peace again before the next bat enters my life.


Kelly said...

Awww. :(

Like you, I love seeing them working... especially when we're fishing in the late afternoon. (mosquitos seem to prefer me to my husband, so every one they nab is one less that can bite me)

We've gotten the odd bird in the house, but no bats that I can recall. Maybe you could build bat boxes and read up more on their benefits in an effort to get the girls over their fear.

Bob said...

You did the right thing. God gave man dominion over animals and I believe that means getting rid of them ASAP when they get in our houses. Good job.

Ed said...

Kelly - Actually, seeing the body of a dead bat up close did quite a bit in alleviating their fears but bat boxes might do even better.

Bob - It also hearkens back to Darwinism and survival of the fittest. I certainly don't want an entire colony of bats that think my house is great habitat for them.

Susan said...

I am a dyed-in-the-wool bat lover. They are so useful and fascinating! However, that said, they are more useful and fascinating while they are out in their natural habitat. Which diminishes quickly. I'd say that having to battle against the changes Man has forced on their lives shifts them out of Darwinism. The odds are definitely not in their favor. I blame Dracula for their bad rep, just as I blame the movie "Jaws" for my inability to go into the ocean further than my ankles.