Monday, July 9, 2007

Animal Control

I'm in a hotel parking lot in Utica when the phone rings. It's HQ.

"There's a fucking bat in the house."

It's tempting to say that this kind of thing always happens when I'm away, but that wouldn't be true. The creatures pretty much feel free to come and go as they please around here. From the deer having a snooze in the driveway around dusk, to the possums murdering one another just outside the bedroom window, to the snakes lounging in the cellar staircase, the animal kingdom is goverened under the su casa=mi casa rule.

This particular animal is the only one of the household variety that gives me the willies. Oh sure, I hates me the possums, because they look like they'd be happy to slit your throat and drink your blood, and I'm afraid of bears because they kill people occasionally, but bats look like all they want to do is crawl up your pants leg and scrabble around, squeaking. Ghhhah.

In other words, there are times when one's glad to be in Utica, and this was one of them. At ease in my distance from the bat, I offered some lame advice ("get the neighbors") and proceeded about my business. Later I got the update.

"We couldn't find it inside, but we saw one outside." We concluded that this must've been the one that was inside, and now it was outside, case closed, goodbye unwelcome mammal of the night. I returned Sunday evening and checked inside the fireplace, shining a flashlight around and into a quarter-inch-wide crack in the bricks — where I saw a bat wedged in like it had been poked in there with a stick.

The willies came back. So I got the Equipment: safety goggles, long screwdriver, work gloves, duct tape around the pants legs (kidding). I went back and the bat was gone. So I laid a fire and let 'er rip. A good smoky fire ought to flush out order Chiroptera.

A couple of hours later, after a nice meal and pleasant company, I went back over there and listened to the scrabbling and squeaking of at least one healthy bat. I looked back into the fireplace and saw this:

So I grabbed the camera, to show how brave I am gloves, grasped the bat gently but firmly, and tossed it out into the yard.

This morning, on my way to work, I stopped to help a turtle cross the road. It peed all the way across.


Anonymous said...

I spent 2 years solo on a hilltop in Italy (with no screens on the windows, which would be decidedly Un-Italian), and this made me a champion bat-warrior in training. I have spent more than one crazed midnight swinging a broom wildly at the vaulted ceilings, playing a bizarre and clumsy version of flying-bat-polo. My 2-year total was 11 bats (I only killed one when I squeezed just a little too hard with the gloves/towel trick.)

And they STILL give me the willies like very little else in the animal kingdom; so I raise a glass of something highly alcoholic and toast your fortitude!

wcs said...

Well I come home from a party
And I'm feelin' a little spaced
And I walk on in the kitchen and
A bat fly in me face

Well de bat come down the chimney
You see he wait in the fireplace
When he hear that I'm getting a little snack
De bat fly in me face

--Carly Simon

Jodi said...

Bats are the absolute worst! Ugg.

Anonymous said...

Bats are awesome. We love them. My wife actually keeps a bat house in the yard, and encourage them to be around, because they contribute to our enjoyment of hanging out on the patio at night: they very much help control the mosquito population.

Just remember, they don't like being inside any more than you like them to. When they get stuck inside, it's because they're lost.

Well done, on helping this little guy find his way.

Anonymous said...

Dude - holy frig - a bat!!!