So…my question is, if bats (Myotis lucifugus–lucifugus means “flees the light”) are supposed to have such a great echolocation system in their little heads where they emit sounds and then decipher the rebounding sound waves to avoid obstacles and catch their dinner, why can’t they figure out the fact that my front door is wide open so they can just wing their way our instead of circling the living room one hundred an fifty-four times while I sit on the porch waiting for their exit?
Just as I had–with some trepidation–been congratulating myself at having got through the summer (Well, it is almost over) without a visitations from die fledermaus , an occurrence that has been a pretty regular thing for quite a while.
It must be me; even when I lived in a two-and-a-half room apartment, there were bats in the basement who tried to come up from the basement into the living room through a knothole in the floor (the apartment building being even older than my present residence). The rental agent at that time was the mayor of Garrettsville and he solved the problem by nailing a tin can lid over the hole…nice decorative touch. But, of course, they were still hanging around–literally–down there and once when I went down to see about some laundry, one of them started whizzing about in a typically scary fashion (I think it’s scary because it’s so erratic, not because they’re actually attacking). Anyway, I crouched down–you know how one does– and headed for the stairs to escape and ran, full tilt, into the bottom edge of the handrail with my head. MAJOR PAIN !
The pet of the moment was a toy poodle of mixed ancestry (Mother : an indiscreet apricot toy poodle; Father : a traveling salesman with an interesting line of goods) and she sat on the floor watching as I did my piggybank imitation with a slot in the top of my head, no doubt wondering her little doggy-brain, such as it was, why I wasn’t getting up to get her a treat instead of just bleeding and whining like some sort of cat, for goodness sake !
Any way, it was a while before I got that load of unmentionables out on the line, it was pretty quiet for a while and my ventures downstairs took place mostly in the daylight. One day though, I went down to the big deep sink to get water for something and discovered a petrified bat in a plastic bucket. I figured he had dropped in for a drink and the sides of the bucket were too slick for him to climb out; he just croaked …unfortunate for him, fortunately for me , I hadn’t decided to fetch a bucket of water to do the floor or something ( I knew that cleaning was dangerous! I’ve sworn off!).
So then I moved down the street into a house with a checkered past(Somebody living here had an association with Harbison-Walker, there was a ton of fire-brick allover outside and in the garage foundation), a floored but unfinished attic, a just-barely floored basement and a suspect chimney. And guess who showed up in the dark of night–hint : it wasn’t the Welcome Wagon–to do a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” flight over the bed? And they kept welcoming me…about once or maybe twice a summer, even as I blocked off the chimney, replaced the windows, dry-walled the attic, remodeled the house…persistent little devils.
The dog was replaced eventually by cats and they were of no particular help at all. I think that they cornered one in the bathtub once but he escaped and took his own sweet time about leaving altogether. In fact, I’m not sure that he left under his own power because later–never mind how much later–while vacuuming, I lifted the corner of the rug to sweep and found that what I had thought was a missing cat toy was, in fact, a petrified bat. Had he been hiding or been hidden for later entertainment? The cats aren’t talking.
I haven’t even got to the episode where the County Health–pitiful as it is–insisted that I get the standard series of rabies shots (That’s five shots in the fundament…not to be confused with “fun”) since there had been a bat in the house. Both Dr. Liu and I argued that it really wasn’t necessary but, when it comes right down to it, what am I going to say? “Oh, no thanks, I’d rather get hydrophobia and die”?
Mostly, I just open the doors and wait for the little devils to flutter out (This doesn’t work so well in the winter–yes, they do show up in winter).Which, of course, means that plenty more lunchmeat on the wing drifts in from the outside for my little visitor to snack on as he swoops through the house. I have carpet burns on my knees and elbows from crawling to the door to open it. The cats think this is hilarious and chuckle as they join me on the front porch to wait until the swooper finally leaves. They also take the opportunity to attempt to escape into the night themselves; they know that I’m not about to go back inside–I’m probably lucky that they don’t decide to shred the furniture. Additionally, there’s a fishnet for last-ditch efforts to capture the little blighters if necessary, stashed next to the bed, and–if anyone did notice it–they’ve been polite enough not to ask about. Nothing kinky, honest!
This whole, on-going drama might call to mind the last musical number in the Strauss opera : “Oh bat, Oh, bat, at last let thy victim escape!”