Our thanks to Jake for this wonderful followup to the Bat in the House episode:
Bats! The Sequel I Never Wanted to Write
I had hoped Sarah and I would have a story to share from our recent adventures in Colorado and Utah, but we didn’t come across much wildlife. (However, if you’re looking for some great hiking recommendations, we’ve got you covered!) Unfortunately, I did have an unwanted nature encounter shortly after returning from our trip. This story is probably too…violent for the podcast, but thought I’d share nonetheless.
On Friday night, I was on the living room couch watching TV when a bat flew in and took a couple laps around the room. I immediately resolved to harness the knowledge I learned from the Nature Guys bat podcast, but I faced a significant obstacle: Sarah, who’s much braver than me in circumstances like this, was out of town.
I ran upstairs and changed into pants, a long sleeve shirt, a knit hat and gloves. Then I headed back downstairs to find the bat, who I’ll henceforth refer to as Bruce Wayne. Bruce had taken up residence in the kitchen and was roosting on the top of a window sill. With Bruce at rest, I was finally able to get a good look at him. I’m pretty sure Bruce was a Little Brown Bat, but I would strongly disagree with the adjective “little” to describe him. Bruce was about three inches long and looked way too comfortable perching in my home.
I headed to the basement and found a garbage can to catch and release Mr. Wayne. I wasn’t excited about getting up close and personal, so I duct taped a four-foot long paint roller extension pole onto the garbage can. As I prepared to place it over the Bruce, I realized my solution was going to be disastrous. The garbage can wouldn’t come close to making a clean seal with the window sill since it was so large. I discarded the garbage can and instead taped a plastic container the size of a quart onto the pole. After a serious pep talk, I finally worked up the courage to position the container around Bruce. It worked…kind of. I had Bruce under the container and he barely budged. But the container was still a little too big and Bruce would be able to slip out of the top if he tried to escape. And I still had the terrifying task of sliding a piece of cardboard between the window sill and the top of the container. I hadn’t expected Bruce to be so dormant, so I decided to scrap the plan to capture Bruce and just shoo him out a nearby door instead.
Bruce had roosted right by a door that went to the back porch, but I had been hesitant to open the door since doing so would put me face-to-face with Bruce. With the knowledge that Bruce had no intention of darting at the first disturbance, I carefully unlocked the back door and set the screen door ajar. Bruce was now only a couple feet from a wide open door to the outside. Still, he didn’t budge. I tried name-calling and unleashed a string of profanity that I’m not proud of. Still, no movement. Next, I used a broom to hit the window sill near Bruce. This got a reaction, but not the one I hoped for. He glared at me and showed his teeth each time my broom connected with the window sill. It was time to kick it up a notch.
I got a rag from the basement and launched it at Bruce, knocking him from the window sill. He recovered and began circling wildly throughout the kitchen. At first, I used my broom in an attempt to redirect Bruce toward the open door. As the dive bombs grew closer to me, I found myself crouched on the kitchen floor and my broom swings were becoming more desperate and aggressive. I want to make it clear that I never intended to harm Bruce, but there came a point when it was him or me, fight or flight. I unleashed my inner Babe Ruth and began lashing out at Bruce like I was trying to send him into the cheap seats at Yankee Stadium. It was remarkable how Bruce would fly right into my strike zone and then dodge just out of reach of the broom, again and again. Magnets and pictures were scattering about the room as my follow-through kept colliding with the refrigerator. Meanwhile, Bruce had countless opportunities to exit through the back door, or even to explore the rest of the house through open doorways to the dining room and living room. But Bruce continued his assault, presumably for the crime of interrupting his slumber. Finally, after about an 0-for-30 hitless streak, my broom connected with Bruce. And what a shot it was. Bruce collided with the broom just above the bristles. I believe baseball players call this the “sweet spot.” Bruce flew across the room and slid down the wall, landing behind a few knickknacks that had been sitting on the floor. From his movements, I knew Bruce was down but not out.
I retrieved the same rag that I had used earlier to knock Bruce off his perch, and dropped it over Bruce and the surrounding knickknacks. I was able to pull some of the random items out from under the rag, but a clock remained trapped with Bruce. I decided that a clock sitting on the kitchen floor couldn’t possibly be a high-value item and I was prepared to part with it if it meant also getting rid of Bruce. I placed a large container over the towel, the clock and Bruce, and carefully slid the contents across the kitchen floor toward the back door. I had the container three-fourths of the way out of the back door. From there, I concluded I could just shut the door and all of the contents would be pushed the rest of the way outside. I closed the door with some gusto and watched everything make its exit…except Bruce Wayne! He had caught on the lip of the door and stayed inside as everything else was pushed outside. The reemergence of Bruce caught me off guard and I tore out of the kitchen and into the opposite corner of the house.
After calming down, I returned to the scene of the crime and found a motionless Bruce. The tip of his wing appeared to be stuck under the door and I assumed that Bruce was a goner. But when I opened the back door a fraction, Bruce moved. I again ran for the far corner of the house. When I had regrouped, I retrieved a tool from earlier: my trusty container duct taped to a pole. I placed it over Bruce and opened the door to free his wing. Bruce was very much alive, causing a ruckus underneath the container. I slid him over the lip of the door and onto the back porch. Finally, my house was bat-free!
Bruce Wayne had departed the next morning. He either regained his strength and flew off, or turned into a meal for another animal. Personally, I’m hoping for the latter!
So, Bill and Bob, I regret to inform you that despite being a regular listener to your podcast, I did not stay cool, calm and collected when confronted with nature!
I’ve now had four bat sightings in my home in two years. Is there any chance it was the same bat each time? If so, I think Bruce Wayne will be finding himself a new bat cave. My house isn’t worth the headache!