It’s Just a Bat!

11 10 2011

It was coming up on 4 A.M. when our middle son, Eric, who was living with us between college and career, woke me up.


“Daddy,” he whispered, “there’s a bat in the den.” It took me a moment to process what he had told me, after all, it was a rather unusual way to wake someone.


Eric had been in the kitchen getting something to drink when he heard a sound, the flapping of wings, in the den. He saw something flying circles around the room but was unsure what it was until it landed on the bricks above the fireplace. It was then he was able to identify it as a bat.


So as I cleared the cobwebs from my head, while transitioning from a sound sleep, I jumped out of bed and fearlessly headed for the den as if I was going out to beat up the school bully for picking on my sister. With Eric close behind, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have a plan. What was I going to do if I got to the den and did find a bat? My demeanor suddenly shifted from unbridled courage to one of slight trepidation as I suddenly realized the reality of the moment. It was much like that feeling you get when you wake up in your cell and realize they brought in your cell-mate during the night-a former defensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers named Bruce.


I had no reason to doubt what Eric had told me. I was convinced he had seen a bat in the den, yet at the same time, I was hoping by the time I got to the den the bat would have found his way out of the house.


Wishful thinking! There he was, still perched to the side of the bricks. So, back to my original thought…what the heck do I do? I didn’t want to show Eric any fear. That would have been 23 years of image building right down the tubes. So I lowered my brow, putting on my bravest face but my brave face didn’t move me any closer to the bat, so my show of courage was in vain. My son did not see me at my best but at least he didn’t see me run out of the house.


I gave a passing thought to getting a bowl or something and trying to trap him against the bricks but since I was as close to the critter as I planned to get, I quickly ruled out that idea. It crossed my mind to suggest to Eric that he get a bowl and go get the bat but even in my moment of fear, I was able to laugh at that thought.


“Wild beast 9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”

With no weapon in hand I retreated to the bedroom and called the animal shelter. At that time of day I didn’t really expect to get an answer so I wasn’t surprised when a got a recording. I was surprised however, when the recording gave me a number to call if I had a bat problem. Well, I definitely considered this a bat problem so; I called the number and got a live person. He took my address and said he’d be right over.


After hanging up the phone, I slowly moved back toward the den. The bat was gone! He was no longer on the bricks and he wasn’t flying around the room. I had no idea where he was and had no interest in looking for him. I had someone on the way who knew far more about bats than I.


It’s Batman to the Rescue!

About twenty-five minutes later, batman showed up at my front door. I expected to see someone carrying a net and wearing a pith helmet with a screen and heavy leather gloves but he was armed just about like I was-short sleeve shirt, pants, shoes and no gloves. But I had one thing he was lacking…a fear of bats flying freely around the inside of my house. I watched in horror as this guy blindly reached behind books, underneath furniture, and slid his bare hands along the tops of the ceiling fan blades, all the while giving me an unsolicited education about bats. I was thinking perhaps I had allowed some psycho into my house in the wee hours of the morning but thought if he could get rid of the bat then he was welcome.


The bat-guy spent about 30 minutes checking every crack and crevice. He gave the place a pretty thorough going over until we were both convinced the bat had somehow escaped. Neither of us could find any way the bat could have entered the room so we were just as perplexed as to how it could have gotten out. But he did give me a phone number to call for a “bat removal expert”. Later that day I called the number and the bat extractor came by along with his son. They had no better luck than the psycho guy but did not appear to be particularly surprised when they were unable to find it.


Well, because we never found a bat, my wife is still not 100% convinced there ever was one, but there was. And because we never found his mode of entry I have no guarantee there won’t be another. But so far, we have been bat-free.


So, if your son ever wakes you during the night and says there’s a bat in the house, acknowledge him then roll over and go back to sleep.




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