My in-laws were here this weekend; my niece Ducky came Sunday night and left yesterday. Our guest room is in the basement. It's a good thing we had vacancy last night, because we had a guest.
(Okay, come on people...for those that are wondering what it is, it's a bat. A sleeping bat, but a bat just the same.)
At least it's sleeping. I've had several bat encounters in the last 6 years, and rarely is it with the slumbering sort.
When we bought our house six years ago, the home inspection showed there were some bats in the attic. It's an old house; this is Wisconsin, I suppose it comes with the territory.
A few weeks after we moved in, my father-in-law removed a piece of scrap drywall from above a drop ceiling in our entryway. "What the hell is this here for?" he asked to no one in particular.
We had four bats in our living areas that summer. We put the drywall back where it was. Mystery solved.
Oh, believe me, the first bat, I started looking for exterminators. The second one, I was ready to move.
(By the way, bats, at least in Wisconsin, are a protected species. It's very costly to "remove" them...they won't kill them. My mom said to just throw some rat poison or mothballs in the attic and call it an accident. I like her thinking, but refuse to go into my attic. Because of the bats. It's a real Catch-22.)
Except for that first year, we've only had one per year (knock on wood), and that means we've had our 2011 quota filled (knocking on wood some more).
When they come up the stairs from the basement (where we determined is where they enter the living quarters of the house), I hear them. Actually, what I hear are the cats chasing it. Usually, they chase it into my bedroom. When Mini Me was a baby in a bassinet near an open screened-in window, they chased it 3" over her to the screen. At 3 a.m.
(Now that I think about it, I did hear the cats making a ruckus last night. I thought they were just fighting with each other...I guess they were defending their turf.)
When I was a reporter, I did a story on what to do when a bat entered your home. At the time, my editor was reluctant to run my story. Then the stories about other people dealing with bats came out. I got to talk to the county public health office. It was awesome.
Generally, if you find a bat in your sleeping area, you are to trap it, kill it, and bring it either to a vet's office or the State lab for rabies testing. And you're supposed to also go in and get rabies shots for your whole family as a precaution.
I did send a bat in once but never did the rabies shots. I rationalize this as I always wake up when they enter my bedroom. Or my kids bedrooms.
(I do have two friends that had bats, separately, and did the rabies shots. Both times, the ER didn't know what to do with them, and both times, had to fight with their insurance to cover it...because the insurance said they should have gone to a regular doctor. If the ER doesn't have a clue what to do with them, and they're trained for emergencies, what the heck will be different about going to the doctor?)
(Oh, and one of my friends was 7 months pregnant at the time, too.)
Walking in to write this blog this morning, I screamed because Radar (a name my friend Kristen gives her bats outside) was taking a snooze above my office door. I called Disgruntled Husband.
"I need you."
"Why? I'm waiting for a call."
"I need you. What's the only reason I'd call and tell you that?"
"You need money?"
(Not all that un-true, but...) "No."
"There's a bat?"
"You got it."
He came home and armed himself with barbecue tongs and a garbage bag. I tried to take his picture as he went to remove the bat and screamed like a little girl. Apparently, when my camera tries to focus, the flash also flashes. It startled him.
(And now he's going to be mad I said he screamed like a little girl. I'd like to retract that. He screamed like a big burly man coming to my rescue for flying marsupial removal.)
He came outside, victorious, with a cup and section of the newspaper, with a bat in-between. (I guess the tongs lost out.) He put the bat, which never woke up, in our neighbors garden. (Sorry Josh and Jennifer.)
And that is the end of our pet Radar. For this year. I hope.