Betty Duffy

***

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's Been a Zoo Around Here

I need to write this down, so that I can recognize how fun it really is that every fifty days or so, I am awakened in the middle of the night by a breeze blowing over my face and the blinds rustling on the window over our bed. I think maybe a storm is blowing in, so I reach over my head in a state of semi-sleep and shut the window. When the breeze continues to blow, I snap to alert, because I then know without a doubt that another bat has entered the house and is circling and diving over our bed, coming so close this time, as to nearly brush my nose.

I have come across mice in the middle of the night, and screamed—it’s so cliché but so inevitable. With a bat, one becomes very quiet, because one has pulled whatever she can find over her head to cover her hair. Everyone knows that if the bat gets into your hair, it’s all over. This movement wakes my husband who likes to tuck the comforter around every corner of his body (excepting his feet), and I have grabbed the comforter from his nooks with great force. When he ascertains why I have done so, he then joins me under the comforter, until we work out a plan for shooing the bat back out the window.

We will stand up in unison, holding the comforter over both of our heads while I open the window, and he removes the screen, then we will fight over who gets to cover their heads with the comforter as we both scramble into the corner of the room furthest from the window. Once we work out who needs the comforter more (me, since he has less hair), he will bat at the bat with the screen he now holds, and I will hover in the corner until the bat makes its exit, or we have achieved a kill. All of this dancing and swatting and cowering will be done in our underwear, which, I suppose, is the fun part.

When bats land on something, they become invisible. I don’t know how they do it, but one second they’re flying with an unmistakable wingspan, and the next they’re smaller than a mouse, a little dark petal on the flowered curtains. In the past, we’ve mistaken a bat’s silence for his exit, and then I’ve discovered it in the morning, soaking in my kitchen sink. One time I found a decayed bat trapped between the window pane and the storm window. Once my husband used a tennis racket and aced it out the window. This time, he swatted it down onto our bed, where it lay there, trapped on our mattress under the screen.

There is a bat IN OUR BED.

So I get the salad spinner bowl, of course, and a cookie sheet, and lift the screen while simultaneously trapping the bat in the salad spinner, then I slide the cookie sheet underneath the overturned bowl and carry the bat outside, set the sheet on the ground, kick off the bowl and run inside. See? It’s fun.

15 comments:

Jamie said...

Aaaaaaaack ack ack ack ack SHUDDER. She said articulately.

wifemotherexpletive said...

hahaha. i think this is possibly the ONLY reason to care what goes on in other people's beds... :)
it certainly DOES sound like adrenalin fun...

Otepoti said...

Native bats are rare and protected here in New Zealand.

(They're so rare, I've never seen one.)

What's so bad about them? What happens if they get in your hair?

Rebekka said...

I'd guess if it gets in your hair it tangles itself up while you run around screaming hysterically?

Anonymous said...

Also, Rabies.

Melanie B said...

But if you've got a screen in the window, then how does the bat get in? That's going to keep bugging me.

Oh and what Jamie said. Ack and whatnot. I don't deal well with tiny insects in my bed I don't know how I'd cope with small mammals. Did you have to change the sheet after removing the bat from the bed? I think I would have.

BettyDuffy said...

We have been struggling with all of the same questions. Where are they coming from? In the summer, there are hundreds of bats out flying over our yard and they're fun to watch from the porch or from the other side of the window. Some, but not all, bats are on the endangered species list here in Indiana. I love bats, and they are very good about eating mosquitoes--but when they get into the house, we have no choice but to usher them out, if necessary, by force.

Our screen was disconnected from the runner at the top, so it could have flown into it and scooted it's way into the room. They only need a tiny hole to access the house. They also could come in the chimney, fly down to the crawlspace, and then come up through the hole in our bathroom floor--but that's kind of a lot of work. They could come in through the door in the evening if a child held it open long enough. I suppose there are quite a few ways to reach us. One by one, we're closing them up, but our house is over a hundred years old, so it has lots of squeaky wheels.

And yes, I changed the sheets.

Peter and Nancy said...

We have mice right now because there's been so much rain that they've all been driven out of their normal homes. I put out poison in our basement storage room (because they're too smart for traps) . . . but that means that we find DEAD mice randomly. I think that may be worse than live mice, or at least more disgusting.

Have you checked your attic? Don't mean to freak you out, but sometimes bats hole up in attics and can get elsewhere that way . . . *shudder*
Nancy

karyn said...

We have screened windows and a newer house and the bats still get in - like you said, if you have kids going in or out, they get in. We've been lucky that we have been able to usher them out easily by both of us holding the comforter up so they can't fly anywhere but out. I know the experts say that bats' echolocation is so accurate they won't fly in your hair - but I don't believe it when they fly around my bedroom!

Tari said...

Wow, all I have to do that whole bowl/tray thing to is lizards - unless the dogs get to them first, that is. ::squeamishface:: Bats would have me in the funny farm, quick.

Anne Marie said...

We have a bat war at our house too, I've even tried to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep after being buzzed by the little suckers, not happenin.

We've dispatched several to their maker, I myself am quite a good shot with a tennis racket, but NEVER EVER have I had one land in our bed, and for this I am very glad.

Good news, bat season will be ending soon. Yipee.

Belfry Bat said...

There is a place for everything (for some of them that place is Hell); and the fullness of God's plan will be revealed when everything is in its place... I quite agree, though, that your bed is not the right place for bat kind.

(btw, captcha is "poingi", which makes me think of Kiki the ferret, sometimes equipped for flight...)

Young Mom said...

Eeeeewwwwww! I remember a bat got into our house when I was little and I was terrified that it was going to fly off with my doll.

lauren said...

First time I've been thankful that summer nights in Texas are just too durn hot to leave the windows open...

Anonymous said...

I, too, have "bat issues." Had some "bat remediation" folks out to assess the situation. The bats aren't "getting into" your house, likely, they're roosting IN the house and working their ways through the walls into the living areas. Sometimes they get disoriented like that. The smallest hole in siding, between soffit & fascia, etc., is enough to allow them access. You'll keep chasing them out until you find all the points where they're accessing the house to roost and close those off (after, of course, the bats have been evicted).