ANN BAILEY: Bat removal requires courage and leather glovesThe first time, I saw a bat up close was a couple of decades ago when my brother, Richard, caught one that was hanging on a piece of farm machinery that had been parked under some trees. I was standing by the house in which we now live and heard an “e-e-e-e noise,” and then heard Richard calling me to come and see what we had found.
Growing up, I loved to hear my mom tell stories about when she was a young girl living on the farm. One of my favorite tales was about the time that a bat flew out of the cook stove and scared my grandma.
As my mom tells it, one day just before dinner, my grandma opened the cook stove door and then screamed — loudly. My grandpa and the hired men rushed in from the other room to find out what had happened and saw a bat flying around. The bat had flown down the chimney into the stove and apparently unhappy with its new home, escaped when my grandma opened the oven door.
Although the story made me shudder, I was still surprised that the sight of the bat made my grandma, an otherwise unruffled farm wife who was used to dealing with a lot of critters, scream.
After a few encounters of my own with bats, I now can understand.
The first time, I saw a bat up close was a couple of decades ago when my brother, Richard, caught one that was hanging on a piece of farm machinery that had been parked under some trees. I was standing by the house in which we now live and heard an “e-e-e-e noise,” and then heard Richard calling me to come and see what we had found.
I walked out to where he was and saw him standing holding a bat in his leather-gloved hand. I took a look at it and quickly headed back to the house, declining his offer to let me hold it.
Years later, when my husband, Brian, and I moved to the house, we occasionally saw bats circling the house on summer nights. They were too far away to see any details and were helping reduce the mosquitoes, so I didn’t mind then.
Last summer, I got another close look at one. I was picking raspberries when my sons and a friend excitedly called me over to the grape arbor. There in the midst of it, was a brown bat hanging onto some vines. It was daytime and it wasn’t being disturbed so it wasn’t as intimidating as the one that Richard was holding.
However, my first thought still was that I could cross picking grapes off of my list of things to do. By the time the grapes were ready to harvest a few weeks later, the bat wasn’t in the spot where it was earlier, but I still didn’t pick any grapes. I wasn’t going to chance coming across it elsewhere in the arbor.
A rude awakening
My two previous encounters, though, were no match for my recent one a little over a week ago. That’s when Brian woke me up before he left for work and calmly told me not to be alarmed, but that there may be a bat flying around the house.
“A what?” I said, not calm at all. Brian explained that when he went downstairs there was a bat flying around the living room and that when he opened the hall door to let it outside, it disappeared. He wasn’t sure if it flew outside or went upstairs.
Figuring it probably went outside, I went back to sleep. A couple of hours later, when I woke up, I recalled him telling me about the bat, so I cautiously looked around the room. I didn’t see a bat there or, later, anywhere else in the house when I went downstairs to shower and eat breakfast, so I forgot about the bat.
That is until I heard my daughter, Ellen, yelling for me to come upstairs. It seems that she had found the bat hanging on her bookcase.
I summoned my sons and two friends who were visiting and asked them to relocate the bat outdoors. They declined, so I got a glove and a cloth, summoned up all of my courage, closed my eyes and reached up to grab the bat.
My hand stopped in mid-air as the bat started hissing loudly at me. I opened my eyes and saw a gaping red mouth and sharp pointy teeth. It was like a scene out of a horror movie and I jumped back, ran out of the room and closed the door. Then I called Brian at work and told him that we had found the bat and that it would have to stay where it was until he came home.
The bat must have been content hanging on the bookshelf because it still was there when Brian got home. He put on a pair of leather gloves and removed it and let it go outside, after my son, Thomas, took several photos of it. That’s the last we’ve seen of it, except for the images that Thomas captured.
We’re hoping that the bat hasn’t got family members who are still living with us. We figure it came in through the attic vent. A check of the attic didn’t reveal any other bats, but just to be on the safe side, I’m keeping the door to the attic shut.