The bat situation

Last night, after we went to bed, The Real Grendel started crying, so I went downstairs and let him out. I opened the kitchen door and off to my right noticed something dark, a blob where a blob shouldn't be, fastened to the bottom of a picture. I had taken off my glasses and couldn't make out any details as I approached the thing to study it. It seemed to be some sort of gigantic insect cocoon or perhaps an alien pod. But I knew in my heart it was a bat.

bat original location

I ran upstairs to get my glasses, but when I came back down and rounded the corner into the kitchen, it was no longer there. Instead it was flying around the kitchen. It was horrifying and fascinating -- really impressive the way it was completely silent, and the lighting made its wings sort of glow brown-orange against the ceiling and walls. Then I watched it fly upstairs.

"NNNnnnnno!" I grabbed a broom and chased it, but it was too fast for me. Four of the five upstairs rooms had their doors open, including the bedroom. I started there, flipping on the light and explaining to a curled-up Tracy why I was poking the curtains with a broom.

"No way."
"A bat."
"A bat!"

I could not find the bat anywhere. I finally gave up and, uneasily, went to sleep.

This morning, The Real Grendel woke us up whining and apparently watching something fly around the room, though the light was too dim for me to make anything out. We all went back to sleep, and later I let him out again. When I returned upstairs, I saw the bat in our bedroom window:

bat stuck in window

It's hard to tell in this photo, but it somehow managed to squeeze itself into the half inch or so between the storm window and screen, still very much alive. Due to the configuration of the window, I cannot raise the screen to let it out and I cannot lower the upper window. I can only close off the whole thing by closing the window. The only escape seems to be back into the room. I don't want to call an exterminator because it seems a waste of money. Why should it cost me $40 or whatever to get a bat out of a window?

I am at a loss about how to capture the bat. I don't want to hurt it. Any ideas?

After declining a $299 offer from a pest control company, I called Iowa City Animal Control. An officer showed up an hour later, a skinny, no-nonsense blonde woman in a uniform, who was holding a square tupperware container on which was written "BATS," in black magic marker. It had air holes poked in it.

I nearly chuckled at her naivete. Surely she should be wearing military armor and be wielding an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner? But whatever -- it was her life, and if she wanted to show up unprepared, nothing I could do about it. Besides, the service would be free. I was only worried that she'd be fiddling with the thing for hours, and I didn't have hours. We went upstairs.

She looked at the window and asked for a coat hanger, which I gave her. Then she opened the window about halfway. Then she dragged the bat down inside the window with the coat hanger while holding the "BATS" tupperware container underneath it with her other hand, until the bat fell into the container. Then she put the lid on the container.

"Wow," I said. "Thanks! You do a lot of this?"
"Oh, forty a week, maybe."
"Ever been bitten?"
"Not by a bat."
"What will you do with it?"
"Let it go, far away."


SER said...

Tell the Real Grendel to earn his keep and take care of the bat situation!

Some of our friends go to a family lakehouse in Indiana every year - it's an old, rambling, drafty (draughty?) house near Culver, and they have a bat problem there. The tool of choice for dealing with bats is apparently a butterfly net, and the method of choice for dealing with the bats is apparently to chase them with the net while emitting a squeal of disgust and fear. Give it a whirl!

SER said...

PS: Now that you have a video camera, please record any attempts at bat eradication and post them on the Internets.

El Gordo de Amore said...

I've got a fly rod and some flies that might attract it -- could be a good time.

Grendel said...

I called a phone listing called "Critter Gitter," but it was disconnected. Next I called a local pest control place, but they said, "We don't deal with bats. Call Critter Control." Critter Control guy said he'd be glad to do it -- for $149, plus $150 to install a "one-way door" for any further bats to get out of the house. So I called the Humane Society, which referred me to Iowa City Animal Control. I am now waiting for "an officer" to come retrieve the bat.

bR said...

Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that you won't have a chance to meet the guy who had the business named Critter Gitter. $5 says he has fewer teeth than fingers.

possum said...

Two comments.

One: When I was in high school, before I was expelled, I was a paid bat catcher for a man at Indiana State University. This project involved nets made of something like human hair stretched across creek beds in southern Indiana.

Two: As someone who has, in the last two years, had two teth broken and then removed, mayhaps we should refrain for making fun of those of us humans who have bad teeth fortune. It's not fun, though the morphine the ER guy gave me was.

Grendel said...

I really wanted to meet Critter Gitter. I would have paid for that.

Brando said...

I'll bet the Critter Gitter would have bitten the head off the bat. Maybe that's why he's out of business.

So don't leave us hanging like a Dickens serial -- has said bat been removed from the belfry?

Grendel said...

Brando, I updated the actual post rather than add another comment. An interesting blog question, because it seems people assume they've already read the post, especially as posts get moved down. So the update method appears to be the wrong way to go.

Brando said...

Oops, I missed the update. Funny stuff.

T-bone said...

When Gillymonster and I had a bat in the last place we rented, we called Animal Control, and did they show up? No. So, needless to say when dusk arrived we got a little nervous. Gilly, I think taking Possum's advice, caught the bat with a blanket. Or I should say, pulled the bat off of the hideous mini-blinds it was clinging to. Also, from the picture of your bat, it looks like we may have had the same bat. Ha