The Bat Story

This post was originally made on 04/24/2013. We still talk about it and laugh. Everybody except Eli, that is. Poor guy. He still won’t let me open the chimney flue, just in case.

A terrifying thing happened in our house a week ago. A bat somehow found its way into our house. We think maybe it got in when we were grilling on the porch at dusk. We had the French door open while we were cooking. No one saw it come in. It didn’t come through our chimney because the flue was closed. We can’t think of any other way it would have come in. But that’s not the funny part.

Here is the story…

Adam, Caleb, and I were upstairs. Eli was on his way up. He was plugging in his Nintendo DS to charge the battery. Eli, God bless him, is scared of bugs. Like deathly so. I was standing in the doorway of our bathroom, starting to get ready for bed. Adam was lying on the other side of the bed and Caleb was beside the bed closest to me. All of the sudden, I hear Eli shriek like a girl and come running upstairs. He screamed “Mommy something’s flying around downstairs!” I figured it was a fly or bee that got inside while we were cooking outside. The bat must have followed Eli upstairs because, just as I was consoling him that it was probably a bug, the bat rounded the corner into our bedroom and headed straight for me! I shrieked like a girl and slammed the bathroom door. Stupid me slammed the door before Caleb could get in, so I cracked it open to let him in and he slammed it back shut. (the fact that I shut my youngest out of the bathroom is something Adam will never let me live down) At this point, Adam has jumped out of the bed and started looking for the bat. The last place he saw it fly was into the boys’ room.

He tells me to call Animal Control. Just so everyone is aware, Greenville County Animal Control only operates on a Mon-Fri 8am-5pm schedule. No after hours officers. Because you know, animal control issues only happen between normal business hours! So Adam breaks his own rule about emergencies (from his paramedic background) and calls 911, who in turn pages the on-call game warden for the area. This man calls me back within a few minutes. I’m thinking “What a relief! This guy will know what to do!”. After I explain the situation, the first words out of his mouth were “Ma’am, I don’t want to scare you, but bats have such sharp teeth, they could bite you during the night and you wouldn’t even know it.” (word of advice- if you don’t mean to scare me, then don’t! Don’t go ahead and say what you were planning on saying!). The next sentence out of his mouth is “Oh and we don’t handle bats.” Hmmm…this is a Dept of Natural Resources employee I am talking to and last time I checked, they handled wildlife emergencies. Aren’t bats wildlife? They certainly aren’t domesticated pets for the general population. So he gives me a list of certified bat abatement specialists. Mind you, it is well past 10pm by now and Adam has not located the bat in the time I am making 500 phone calls. One company called us back and wanted $400 to get rid of the bat. $400! So that plan was nixed.

Meanwhile, my husband is still diligently searching the house for the creature. He thinks it is gone, while I am pretty sure it is hiding out somewhere. All I can think is RABIES. I would prefer not to get rabies myself or have anyone in my household get rabies. So I decided to call my dad. My dad knows something about everything. He says he has gotten rid of a bat before and he will be right over. So he shows up after awhile (he did research on the Internet for DIY bat removal). The man has a rake, broom, shoebox, and some mesh wire. The search continues. My job has become the flashlight holder. I went room to room, painstakingly searching every crevice for the damn thing. Then as I am checking our sons’ room for the 100th time, I shine the flashlight on the area at the top of  the window by Caleb’s bed. He has a blue blackout curtain under the window blinds. Funny, but I see something brown in there. So I call in the DIY bat abatement specialists, my dad and Adam. Daddy puts the handle of the broom on one side of the bat and the handle of the rake on the other. I think he got too excited, because he squished the bat. Meanwhile, Adam is using his extra long grilling tongs to grab the bat. Somewhere in the midst of this, the bat died. I guess I should be saddened that it died, but I am not. The bastard could have given us rabies! So the now-dead bat got put into the shoe box and we duct taped the box shut (yet another use for duct tape!) and disposed of it. What a surprise for whomever opens the Ferragamo shoe box at the landfill, expecting high dollar shoes, and finds a dead bat instead!

The moral of this story, er morals of the story are these: 1. don’t leave your porch door open at dusk, 2. don’t call Animal Control after hours (unless you DON’T live in Greenville County- other counties might realize that animal control is not a 8a-5p job.) 3. DNR will not help you if you have a bat- they will just scare you, 4. bat abatement companies will take your money or the promise of your first born child to get rid of an after-hours bat, and 5. DIY bat removal is possible and the internet, while not useful for some things, has a wealth of info on DIY bat removal.

After all of this, I really think my kids and I need therapy.