One of the great problems with hot, muggy weather and old houses in the Northeast is the emergence of bats in the living quarters. A couple weeks ago, I was in Binghamton attending Day 1 of my high school reunion. Carol and Lydia had been to the event, but Carol had gone back to the house of friends Cecily and John, put Lydia to bed, and the three of them were talking. Suddenly, a bat started flying around the living room. John chased it out of the room, and eventually trapped it. He may have accidentally killed it, and felt badly about that.

A couple nights later, on an extremely muggy Monday night/Tuesday morning, I was lying down in the guest bedroom, directly under the ceiling fan, but was not sleeping. Carol came in and thought there might be a bat in our bedroom. I got Carol my spare racquetball racquet from the office. Suddenly, the flying mammal was in the hallway, circling Carol, with her using the racquet to keep it at bay, AND to close the other bedroom doors. I found a shoebox in the office, which I used to change the bat’s pattern. It flew towards the now-closed bedroom, flew back towards Carol, who (there’s no better word) batted it down, and put the racquet on top of the bat. I took the shoebox and kept the bat on the floor while removing the racquet, slipped the shoebox top under the bat, and we sealed up the box, poking some holes in it. In the morning, Carol took it to the Health Department lab, where it was verified it was not rabid.

Those of you keeping score at home will note that this is now the FIFTH live bat in our house in five summers. You’d think we’d actually do something like this. We actually did the standing outside looking for the bats to return thing one night last year after that incident, but never saw them. Maybe we’re just too impatient to wait around looking towards the roof for two or three hours for several nights at dusk or later trying to see a fast-flying creature.

We DID get our then-contractor to agree to bat-proof the attic last fall, but he never followed through (thanks a lot, guy). Carol talked to our new contractor about it. He thinks it’s all a bit silly. After all, the chances of contact are minimal, and the chances of rabies are even more remote, he correctly noted. Carol replied that the chances of an untreated contact from a rabid bat being fatal is about 100%.

Bat-proofing: this year, for sure.
I wonder if Julie Hembeck ever had to deal with bats?

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