With my heart in my throat, I got up and went to the bathroom, quickly threw on the light and, just as quickly, removed my hand from the switch to see a black, winged creature just inside my shower clinging to the wall. I promptly closed the bathroom door and let out a shriek. Uh oh.
It took a couple of seconds for my brain to filter through my catalog of winged creatures. Black. Wide wing span. Furry. Beady eyes. Not a bird. It's a bat. Uh oh.
Now, I've blogged about my battle with the local squirrel who has, on more than one occasion, broken and entered into my top floor apartment and helped himself to cookies, avocados and my general living space. But bats?!
My first thought: How the hell did it get in? Second thought: How the hell do I get it out?
I hop on to Google and do a quick search. I find this article on How to Catch a Bat in Your House. It starts with: "Bats should not be flying through your house." No, really? I continue reading:
- Take care using your hands directly. Wear leather gloves to protect against rabies. (Rabies. Fabulous. The last thing I want to do with my day off is go and get a rabies shot. On go the gloves.) Open your door or window. The bat is looking for a way out. Open a door and leave it open to give the flying bat a clear path. The bat may sense the fresh air and fly out of your house. (There is no clear path out of my house. I live in an apartment building. Notice there's no instructions for How to Catch a Bat in Your Apartment? That's because bats aren't supposed to find their way into your apartment.)
- Allow the bat to land. Stay out of its way and watch for it to land. (There was no watching. Only waiting outside the bathroom door until I heard the flitting stop and until I worked up enough nerve to go back in.)
- Pick up the bat if necessary. If the bat lands low, toss a towel carefully over the bat. It will not be able to take off again. The towel should cover the bat without causing injury. (Towel. Check. Pick it up? Great. I should be sleeping not bat wrestling. And now my main priority is making sure I don't injure the bat? Okay.)
- Scoop up the towel. Keep the bat wrapped inside. You should expect to hear clicking noises when the bat is frightened. It is best to presume that the bat might try to bite through the towel, so put on gloves or oven mitts to be safe. (Okay, gloves are on. Oven mitts? Geez. So, I go back into the bathroom and find the bat curled up in a corner behind the toilet. I throw the towel on it. No clicking noises. No chewing. Is it dead? I carefully lift the corner of the towel to find it moving very slowly underneath. Uh oh. Now what?)
- Coax the bat down from high places. If the bat lands high on your wall or ceiling, place a coffee can or plastic container over the bat. Slide the lid of the container cautiously between the bat and wall. Keep the container as close to the wall as possible. Do not pinch the bat. (Again with the bat's health and safety. Strangely, or not so strangely, I find myself talking to the bat apologizing for any pain my efforts to remove it from my home might be causing it. And a mea culpa should said efforts end in its untimely demise.)
- Carry the towel or container outside. Set the trapped bat on the ground some distance from your house. Close your door so that the bat does not accidentally fly inside again. (I wrap the bat in the towel and place the towel in a plastic bag and proceed out of my apartment.)
- Remove the towel or container carefully, so that you can see the bat on the ground. Walk away and watch. The bat will attempt a few hops, then become airborne. Bats have some difficulty taking off from the ground. (I get outside and open the bag spilling the towel and presumed-incapacitated bat onto the pavement.)
- Help the bat if it seems fatigued. If the bat is too tired or scared to take off, you may want to place it near a tree. The bat will climb the tree where it can drop into flight. (Fortunately, the bat finds a second wind and flies away. I breathe a sigh of relief. For both of us.)
I don't think I'll be sleeping anymore tonight. And yes, my Super will be getting a call in the morning. If I'm going to continue to share my living space with the local animal population, I expect some concessions. Perhaps a reduction in my rent is in order.
Just another day in the life.