Saturday, December 21, 2013

Going Batty in the Country

When you move out into the country, you became aware of the amazing amounts of small creatures who desire to live with you in your house. Shiny, little creepy crawlies, fuzzy, furry rodents and the one it took me the longest to get used to, bats. Perhaps it is because I have found the statement that bats will never run into a person in flight is not true. Especially when you are dealing with baby bats.

For most of the year, you will not see the winged denizens who occupy your attic unless you go out in the cooling dusk when the last streams of the spring or summer sun streak the sky. But around the end of July to early August, when the warm farm house gets stuffy, the baby bats get old enough to leave their mother and haphazardly venture into the living space you use. They don't really want to meet you. In fact, they find you quite terrifying. They just get lost because they are young and inexperienced. After they flutter from room to room, squeaking forlornly, they are eventually joined by a concerned parent and some other members of the colony.

In one particular incident, that proved upsetting for all parties involved, I came home from work one evening to find eight bats swirling around the house. After one collided with me, I bravely locked myself in a bedroom and sat in front of the door, wondering how I was going to get all of them out. One bat decided to fly under the door like a piece of paper and through my legs. This elicited a rather loud scream on my part. After four hours using a fishing net, an open door, a towel and one more bat vs. human collision, I managed to get all the furry beasts removed. Unfortunately, I have been scarred emotionally and am now rather jumpy about getting near bats.

You might ask why I don't just get rid of them? I have tried and it is not so easy. You see, my house was built in 1850. The bats have been there ever since and they feel my 20 years of residency pales to their 163. Therefore, I should be the one going. They also are incredibility persistent about coming back if I throw them out. Their main arsenal consists of the ability to fit through very small spaces and an old farmhouse always has a few cracks in the making. Once they are in for the year, if you remove them too early, you run the risk of removing the parents but not their offspring. This can cause a whole host of problems, including the smell of decay. Even the professionals have failed at getting rid of them. They are here to stay.

One of the most notable encounters my family has had with the bats is one involving my daughter. On balmy night, while lying in bed, my daughter felt a tugging at her hair and little hands touching her skull. A small, baby bat was clawing its way up her head. Now if this would have been me, you would have had to peel me off the ceiling. But my daughter stayed still until it lofted itself into the air. In the morning, she found it clinging to her curtain. A wrap in a towel and a toss outside got rid of it.

After two decades the bats and I have come to a tense understanding. We, for the most part, leave each other alone. I have learned to tolerate their wandering children and they for the most part stay out of my territory. I do have to say, they do a wonderful job of keeping insects away from the house at night. You can lounge on my porch and be hard pressed to find a mosquito or fly which makes the brilliant summer sunsets all the more pretty.