Monday, May 04, 2009

Hit the road, Bat!

I was doing something upstairs on Saturday night and suddenly Dave cried out, "Bat! Bat in the house! Bat!" He said later that he had heard a commotion from the family room and then this flying thing came tearing into the living room, clicking its sonar wildly, followed by Chance. He and the cat converged on the corner by the sofa, looking on the floor at the small creature huddled there.

When I was in my early 20s I listened to a group of women telling terrible stories about how they had killed bats who had somehow gotten into their homes. Tennis racquet, baseball bat, whatever. I felt like Hillel, first they came for the bats, and I kept trying to interject how great bats were and how simple it was to get rid of them: When I was about 10 a bat flew into my sister Bondi's room. Instead of panicking my mother called Angel Memorial, the animal hospital in Jamaica Plain, Boston, and they told her to cover it with a towel, scoop the thing up, and throw it out the window. Simple.

(I feel the same way about snakes. Fortunately, Doug Morrison in elementary school would bring in snakes for show and tell, and talk about how snakes are great, they aren't slimy or scary, and there's no reason to be afraid of them. So before I had a chance to learn to be afraid of them, I knew not to be. Today I love snakes; a friend's son had a corn snake that liked to climb around my waist inside my shirt because it was warm. Although it was intense recently to watch the snake feeding where my sister Cate volunteers; especially when the copperhead bit a live mouse and it writhed a while until it was paralyzed and could be swallowed. It's a snake-eat-mouse world, I guess.)

So I grabbed a beach towel and threw it to Dave. And yes, he scooped the critter up, much to the cat's disappointment, and dashed to the front door, the bat clicking like crazy all the while, trying to figure out what was going on. I grabbed Chance so she wouldn't escape and opened the door for Dave and his, er, companion. "You want a look?" he asked me, and I said no, just let it go, poor thing! So he opened the towel, but instead of flying off immediately, it just lay there. Maybe it was frozen by the light of the house coming through the front door window. We gazed at it in all its creepy glory for several seconds. It really did look like a little vampire. We all got a good look, even Chance, and then it took off into the night.

Chance was pretty excited with another mammal in the house for even a moment, and unfortunately Lily was in the soaking tub and missed it entirely. Dave went around all night singing, "And the bat came back, the very next day . . ." and, "Hit the road, bat, and doncha come back no more no more no more no more . . ." No bats ever got into our apartment in Brooklyn.

And speaking of the local mammals, we haven't seen bears yet, but our neighbors have so we know they are back. This should be cub season; they deliver every other year, I gather, and as cubs were cavorting on our driveway just before we bought the place, we should be seeing the next generation soon. Yes, it's been two years since we moved to Marian Street. Time is a-passing.

1 comment:

  1. It had lots of sharp little teeth and sharp little claws that hooked onto the towel like Velcro. It had a toad-like body, I swear I heard a ringing sound when it first entered the room. Never quite figured exactly how it got in the house. It mighta been latched onto something in the screen porch which was without screens during the day and then swooped in after dark.


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