What you are about to read is a true story. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Okay… I could. But I didn’t.
After an un-Minnesota-like (no snow or rain), pleasant evening of trick-or-treating, The Boy and I hurried home to light our Jack-O-Lanterns and relax a little. The Barn was crazy busy the last few days with people getting ready for Halloween, and I was pooped. As I came back into the house, talking to my boyfriend on the phone, Danny came running out of the living room, Wii remote in hand.
“Mom!!!! There’s a BAT in the house!!” I thought he was kidding. Any self-respecting bat should be hunkered down for the sub-zero temperatures that are on the way. And I have a few fake bats hanging around as Halloween decorations; maybe that’s what he saw. Just then a flying rodent swooped past my big purple witch hat.
“Holyshitgottagoloveyabye!” I told Paul.
I’m pretty sure he replied, “Holy Criminy!” because I talk enough like a trucker for both of us.
Everything I know about bats flashed through my mind. Later, while researching this post, I found a short, sweet article by the MN DNR about Living with Bats. My favorite line is: “Actually, bats are proficient flyers and can easily catch insects while avoiding people.” Good to know. Very reassuring. It’s one thing to know this intellectually, and another to remember it while one is flying around one’s house while the cat and the kid are freakin’ out. On Halloween.
Yes, I know bats make Minnesota summers less miserable by eating billions of mosquitoes, don’t want to suck my blood, won’t get caught in my hair or big purple witch hat, rarely have rabies, that they are a valuable part of the ecosystem, blah blah blah. That’s why we don’t shoot or otherwise try to kill them on sight.
I also found an informative WordPress blog written by MN Wild Animal Management, a company from The Cities (aka Mpls/St. Paul if you are not from the Midwest). Please read this BEFORE you have a bat in your house. They gave great advice, but were too far away to remove this particular bat.
“If you do encounter a bat flying in a room, follow this procedure:
- Shut all doors leading into other rooms to confine the bat to as small an area as possible.
- Open all windows and doors leading outside to give the bat a chance to escape. (Don’t worry about other bats flying in from the outside.)
- Remove pets from the room, leave the lights on, stand quietly against a wall or door, and watch the bat until it leaves.
- Do not try to herd the bat toward a window. Just allow it to calmly get its bearings, and don’t worry about it swooping at you. When indoors, a bat makes steep, banking turns, so it flies upwards as it approaches a wall and swoops lower near the center of the room. Within ten to fifteen minutes the bat should settle down, locate the open door or window, and fly out of the room.”
The Pajarigirl Procedure for Bat Removal, however, went a little differently…
- Snag cat as he races by after bat.
- Toss cat gently into bathroom and close the door.
- Tell boy to join the cat in the bathroom.
- Catch cat again when it escapes through open bathroom door.
- Wait for bat to fly back out of bathroom.
- Duck again.
- Reassure child that even though it’s Halloween, this is not a vampire bat.
- Toss cat and boy into bathroom and slam the door.
- Open both outside doors, and wait for bat to come out of boy’s room.
- While standing in doorway to living room, don’t duck, and explain to bat that you are not that kind of witch; he needs to leave, there’s the door. Use big purple witch hat to block entrance to living room and encourage exit through kitchen door.
- After bat escapes, shut both outside doors before letting cat and kid out of bathroom.
I had assumed that since we have had snow on the ground, the bats were hibernating. Looking back, I should have known better. The Guinea Monsters From Hell are still finding plenty to eat, very close to my house. Bats and Guinea Hens both eat bugs, and even though the nights have been cold, and I haven’t had a mosquito bite in weeks, there are still enough bugs around to keep their predators alive. I even killed a mosquito a few days ago while brushing snow off the Jack-O-Lanterns. Point taken, Mother Nature.