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Bat encounter (2) Wed, Sep 19, 2007
On Saturday I decided it would be a good day to paint the shutters on my house, so I climbed a ladder to take down the shutters from our second floor bedroom.  I was in an outdoor-manly-bang-my-chest mood, so I had no fear of what I anticipated finding underneath the shutters.  I removed the first shutter and found an array of spider webs, wasp nests, and bat poop, but no living things.  I casually brushed everything away with my gloveless hand.  Then I licked my fingers.  Not really. 

I climbed down the ladder and moved it a few feet over to get the other shutter.  I climbed up the ladder and removed the four screws holding the shutter in place, and that's when I saw it. 



A little tiny, furry, 2-inch-long, upside-down bat.  (Yes, that's bat poop [guano] stuck to the house.  I guess he missed the memo about not pooping where you eat.)  I was scared at first because bats have an unfortunately bad amount of karma.  Will it bite me?  Will I become a vampire?  But then I noticed how scared it was of me, and I lost any feeling of trepidation.  Even though I woke the little guy up and disturbed his little humble abode, he was in no hurry to get away.  So I went down the ladder, got my camera from inside, and went back up to take a few pictures.  He stood still the whole time and wasn't even scared of the flash.  When I was satisfied, I figured I should resume my task, so I tried to scare him away. 

That's when it happened.  Well, it almost happened.  The bat abruptly flew away, brushing against my arm in the process (apparently it's difficult to begin flying while perched upside down and in a confined space).  There's one simple reaction that comes to mind when a wild animal flies in your direction and touches you:  Flee.  The problem was that I was on a ladder, 20 feet in the air.  I screamed a high-pitched womanly scream, grabbed the ladder tightly, and felt my heart beating in my neck.  I looked down at my arm to make sure the bat didn't leave any puncture wounds, and I gradually calmed down as I realized everything was ok. 

As I was doing some research for this post (check out this picture...eek!), I realized bats are feared mainly because they're known to carry rabies, even though it's rare and there are only a handful of incidents each year in the entire country.  I guess I should've been more scared of the little thing.  But c'mon, look at it.  It's the size of a mouse.  And it's furry.  How can you be scared of something like that? #nature

Comments:
Emily Thu, Sep 20, 2007
When I was younger we used to find bats flying around our house a handful of times a year. They apparently came down the fireplace to get in and somehow always found their way to my sisters room. It turns out that tennis rackets are very useful in stunning them to remove them from the house.

However, last year my sister-in-law and kids woke up to find a bat in the house and they were advised to get rabies shots as you would not be able to find a puncture wound from the bat if it had bitten you in your sleep. Multiple rounds of shots later they are all fine, never knowing whether or not they had actually been bitten of if the bat carried rabies.

I guess I should be thankful that we never woke up to find them in our house though I'm pretty sure if we had we would have hit it with the tennis racket and carried it outside just like we did all the others.

Dave Thu, Sep 20, 2007
Add to my list of fears:  Being bitten by a bat and not knowing it.


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