Bat Out of Hell*

brown bat laying down, looking up at the camera

*We don’t know for sure that hell is where the bat was from. But we wanted it the hell out of our bedroom!

The bat at the top of this post is not our bat. Show me a person who can take a photo of a bat while it’s in their home and I’ll show you a pest control specialist. My camera was the last thing on my mind!

A bat in the house is a sign of good luck in Chinese folklore. A bat flying in circles over your head at 1:30 am on a Saturday is confusing! At first, Derek said he thought it was a bird outside. Then a bird inside. Once he turned on a light, the situation revealed itself. A frightened bat, circling our bedroom, trying to find a way out. And too panicked to go out the way it got in, wherever that was.

A house-bat incident isn’t rare. Bats can wriggle into spaces as small as 3/8 of an inch in diameter. They come in where there’s a shingle missing (we have a steel roof, so that’s not an issue) or around pipes, between loose bricks, wherever there’s an opportunity. So, we needed a plan. And who was nowhere to be found?

Miss Sugar asleep with the caption, wake me when it's gone!

I am acquainted with convincing a bat to leave, having chased one out of my Wingham apartment building with screaming neighbours freaking out all around. “Get a pillowcase, hold it up and open and the bat will fly into it”, I told Derek, remembering my previous success. From my position of safety under the comforter, I could hear Derek leave the room. The linen closet is about four paces from the bedroom door so I was puzzled when he didn’t return right away. The flap-flap-flap of the circling bat was all I heard for a long while.

There was a thud just before Derek came back with a sheet we use for moving furniture that he retrieved from the basement. The bat – I thought – hit a window. With Derek in the room, I sprinted out of bed and told him what I thought happened. But it wasn’t the window – it was the headboard! The bat was behind where my head had just been. Now it was personal! I was never going to hurt the bat but I was damn sure going to remove it.

I approached it with the pillowcase open and attempted to capture it, failing, with the bat crawling around the lip of the case until I was forced to drop the whole operation to the floor or risk bat feet touching my hand. Derek finished the catch part of our catch-and-release program. With him holding the wadded up bat, we padded down to the front door and I closed it behind him as he freed Mr. (or Mrs.?) bat into the darkness.

Bats eat bugs. They are more scared of us than we are of them. Statistics that I made up show very few of them turn into vampires. There was no question that he or she was getting out alive. They’re creepy and cute and gross and I definitely didn’t want one caught in my hair. And as much as I’m not usually into omens, I’m going to take this one as offered: a good luck bat as we head into 2019. It’s the year of the pig but for us, a lucky bat will do.

Happy New Year! We’re spending a couple of days in visiting mode. I’ll meet you back here on January third.

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