Monday, August 16, 2010

Belfry house

My house does not have a belfry, but it is a big old house, and it does have bats, apparently.

Let me first say that I am a squeamish person, I don't like being around wildlife, and the bats make me panic quite enough as it is. When we first encountered bats in the house, I posted about it on facebook, at which point a good half dozen of my friends started posting panicky comments about rabies! and omg what if they bit you! So if you are squeamish and panicky about bats yourself, please do not read any further; I really don't need my own paranoia fed by yours. I am posting here because I need to vent a little, and my real-life friends mostly don't read here and so won't hassle me about the bats later. OK?

We found two bats in the house back in May. One was dead when we first saw it. The other I found alive, when I was at home alone; I wigged out, shut up the room it was in, and by the time my partner (henceforth, Batcatcher) came home (24 hours later) it was dead. Then we didn't see any for several weeks. In late July we found a couple more dead ones, all intact, lying on the floor. Our best guess is that one of our cats nabbed them (probably during the day, when they were sleepy and slow-moving) and abandoned them when they were no longer moving.

The exciting new wrinkle of the last few days is that we started finding them live. We went up to our TV room, which is in our finished attic, and as soon as we turned the lights on a bat started flying around. We have rigged a catching device out of a pillowcase and a wire coat hanger. Batcatcher nabs them in this improvised net, holds the pillowcase closed, takes them outside, and releases them. Three live bats in the last three nights. (we hope it isn't the same bat over and over again, sigh) It seems like time to call in professionals to see if they can figure out where the bats are getting in and stop them...


Notorious Ph.D. said...

"Wigged out" is right -- ack! I'm even afraid of being in an enclosed space with a bird or a moth; bats would send me right over the edge.

Call in the professionals, woman. For my peace of mind, if not your own.

clio's disciple said...

Calling in the professionals is Batcatcher's job. Everything to do with the bats is Batcatcher's job. He, fortunately, is not wigged out.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

You will probably think I am really peculiar because I like bats. But if you provided them with a nice little bat house outside, do you think they might prefer it to finding their way in with you and your cats? The bats are really very unlikely to bite you, but it would be better not to have the cats chewing on them.

clio's disciple said...

Dame Eleanor: Thanks for the suggestion! We'll look into the bat house.

I, in fact, like bats in the abstract--I think they are interesting and useful, and I'm happy to have them around to eat insects and so forth. I admire them greatly when they're not flying around inside my house. In my head I know they're unlikely to bite or land on me, but my body wigs out anyway.

I feel bad that several have already died in our house. On the plus side, the cats don't actually eat them; all the bodies we've found are intact. This was also true of the dead mice we occasionally found in our previous house. I think our hunter cat kills them quickly (breaks their necks?) and then abandons them. (The cats are also up to date on their shots.)