Attack of the Killer Fruit Bat

We were sitting on the sofa Wednesday night watching television. (Rock Star Super Nova, if you must know. We’re addicted. I can’t explain.)

It was a warm summer night and the front door was open. We were thus sitting when a bat flew in through the front door and into the living room. I would have photos to share with you had I not assumed the position: screeching while scrunched on the ground with a pillow on my head. (I scared the dog.) I don’t know why that should be the position when a bat flies into the room, but it is. It just felt... right.

Now, here’s the thing: intellectually, I’m not at all afraid of bats. At least, I’m not afraid of our neighborhood bats which are of the insect-eating and fruit-sucking varieties, not the type that kill cattle or carry away unsuspecting dogs and small children. These are teeny bats -- perhaps the span of one and a half of my properly woman-sized hands. Wings extended.

Most summer evenings, at twilight, we can sit on either of our decks and watch them swooping over the large cleared area in front of our house. Swooping and hunting and inhaling insects in large number. And I don’t like insects so the whole bug-eating enterprise is a Good Thing for all concerned.

So I’m not afraid of these bats. And I understand the whole bats-in-hair thing is a tale for old wives. This bat didn’t look the least bit interested in my hair. But it’s hard to fight instinct, or so I’ve discovered.

And it really was instinct. There’s just no other way to describe what I felt, what I did. You see, first, a shadow enter the house. It’s like the shadow of a bird. Almost. And it’s dark, so you’re not really sure, because the shadow is roughly bird-sized. But it’s not a bird. You know it’s not a bird. How do you know? That instinct thing again. Well, that and the elegance. See, a bird in the house isn’t elegant. (We get those, too.) It’s frightened. And it thinks all the big ol’ closed windows are exits... if only it can hit them hard enough.

Bats don’t make that mistake. It came in through the front door -- I saw it almost right away -- and it circled the living room, neatly, tightly. Then it circled again. (CUT TO: Me. Screeching. Pillow on head. I know we did that already, but I thought I’d give you the visual where it belonged.) It circled back towards the door and I thought for a second it would slip out, but it didn’t. It sort of cut back -- elegantly -- then flew up the stairs.

One of David’s canvases was leaned up against the wall and he grabbed it and followed the bat up the stairs. (With the idea of showing the bat the way out, not whacking it over the head.) I didn’t see that part, (You’ll have guessed that already. I was still safely under my pillow.) but David reported that the bat just... disappeared. We had the doors open to the deck on the upper level, so we figure he just handily echolocated his way out pretty much the way he’d come in, only one level up. (Not a problem when you’re a bat.)

I don’t want to think about the alternative: that he found a nice, dark closet and is waiting for me to put away laundry or look for my favorite pants. Not that it would matter (she reminded herself). He eats insects. Sucks fruit. Not writers with pillows on their heads.

I’ll end this by explaining the artwork used above. It is of course -- and appropriately enough -- from Ed Champion’s wonderful Return of the Reluctant blog. Specifically his Bat Segundo show. And more specifically, for Bat Segundo #54, a “two-part Podcast” with David Mitchell. Go see for yourself.


Sandra Ruttan said…
It isn't about being eaten, it's about having a bat fly at your head! UGH!

When I lived on Thetis there was a nest of kamikaze birds outside my door and they used to fly at my head. I hated that. I developed an intense dislike of birds. I know they'd had offspring and were being protective, but geesh. I was there first. Move to a new nest! All they did was make me get a cat. It was self-defense, I tell you!
ed said…
Oh man...funny but crazy experience. Thanks for the nod.
Sandra, I understand the logic. It's the reason I don't have a cat at present, much as I'd like to. (My old ones finally wore out at 19, 21 and 22. If I'd known they were going to last so long, I'd have chosen them more carefully.)

But I've heard that the songbird population is threatened by domestic cats. Have you heard that? And I've got a friend (who actually comments here occasionally, so maybe she'll chime in, if she's of a mind) who has a brace of cats that are just hell on birds... and lizards and rodents and anything else that moves and is smaller than a couple of slices of bread. These cats even kill hummingbirds in the season. (Which means they are very, very fast.) And getting a kitty would mean having to get rid of my bird feeder, which I enjoy. (Either that or I'd have to rename it my bird trap.

So I'm kittyless. But I do miss them.
Sandra Ruttan said…
Back then, my cat had an indoor/outdoor life. Now, our cats are strictly indoors.

Oddly enough, we have a lot of trees and hedges on our property, and the tree right in front of our living room window has berries. See, that's what I know about trees. "Look, shiny red berries." But Kevin learned that the berries make the birds hallucinate. Sitting in that window watching the birds act insane is kitty heaven.
Emru Townsend said…
You need to work on your technique. The proper reaction to a bat flying in through the window has been well documented:

1) Declare it an omen.
2) Design a costume.
3) Fight crime in the costume.

Simple, really.
Gosh, Emru: great advice! I'll start designing my costume instantly.

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