Back in the 80’s, I was a poor graduate student living on the second floor of an old house, which the homeowners had converted into a small apartment. One night while I was in the spare room listening to music, I heard a strange rustling sound coming from the bedroom closet. As I turned my head, I spot this hairy, flying frog creature leaping down the hallway into the living room.
In shock and too chicken to check it out, I phoned my sister and brother-in-law to come save me. They rushed over and my brother-in-law is told to go investigate.
“It’s this weird hairy flying frog thing,” I explained. “Here’s a bag.”
I sent the poor man into the living room with a plastic grocery bag and waited. He took the bag from me and disappeared into the other room, scared but trying to man up because, well, he’s the guy. Moments later he returned, grim-faced.
“I need a bigger bag,” he said. I gave him a large shopping bag and sent him back to do his duty.
My sister and I heard furniture moving around, and then silence.
“Bob?” My sister called out.
“Bob?” I called out.
Bob appeared moments later with his shopping bag. A little dark mound nestled in the bottom.
“Is it a bird?” I whispered.
“A bat.” Bob managed to croak.
My sister and I shrieked like school girls. I was much happier when I thought it was a hairy flying frog creature.
And so began my lifelong fear of bats.
Flash forward 10 years, and my sister (a different one) is living in a condo in London. With bats. Various attempts by the condo corporation to remove the bats are futile. They are determined to stay. My sister gets so used to them that when they fly around her bedroom at night she gets up and reads the paper until they fly out the open patio door. On one occasion, my sister had minor surgery which required someone (me) to stay overnight. I told her that if I saw a bat I would jump in my car and head home without thinking twice, post-surgical care be damned.
Flash forward again to present day, Saturday morning. It’s 8:00 and I’m laying in bed with Clancy the cat, who just climbed up for some morning affection. Suddenly I see this brown thing flutter by me. I wait, wondering if my eyes deceived me, when it flutters by me again.
Shit. A bat.
Clancy the cat watches, slightly interested. Buddy the dog, on the other hand, could care less.
The bat flies into the hallway and down the stairs into the front room. I run downstairs and into the kitchen/ family room. I watch as the bat flies madly back and forth, up the hall and back again. Finally he flies into the kitchen/family room where I am. I throw open the sliding door, hoping the silly bugger catches the breeze and flies out. No such luck. The bat ignores the open door and roosts off the fireplace, apparently considering his options.
Screw this. I throw on a jacket and run next door to my (male) neighbour. I have male neighbours living on both sides of me and across the street from me. Screw feminism. I’m a coward and guys love doing guy things like this. I knock on his door and tell him my plight. He takes his oatmeal off the stove, grabs a fishing net, and comes to my rescue. Bat is retrieved in the net and let loose outside.
But, damn, now I have a bat problem.
I get on the internet to learn all about bats. Some things I already knew: that bats get into our living spaces because they get disoriented, especially the young; that they are essentially harmless; that they’re as afraid of us as we are of them. Other things I didn’t know: that bats are a protected species; that they are responsible for eating millions of insects and we need them; that they make babies from May to July, and during those times you cannot install exclusion measures, such as one-way exits, because the momma bats need to get in to the house to feed the baby bats.
Unlike raccoons, skunks, mice, or other critters, bat removal or “exclusion” is expensive, because bats can get into spaces the size of a dime. Bat exclusion experts inspect every inch of your roof and attic to find the entry points and then seal everything up tight as a drum, creating strategically placed one-way exits. After a few days, those exits are removed and you’re bat-free.
After my internet search I start making phone calls. I contacted two companies which have apparently cornered the market on effective bat control in Ontario. (They had even made a pilot for HGTV all about bat removal and exclusion. (If you don’t mind seeing a million creepy bats, it’s pretty entertaining.)
Remember when I said it was expensive? I was quoted a price range between $1800 to $2200. I felt the blood drain from my face. After some discussion, I was told that the job could be done for $1500, depending of course on just how much work (read: infestation) was involved. I’m betting (hoping) that it will be a small job.
My bat expert is coming this upcoming Wednesday to rid me of my bat(s) problem. Stay tuned for Me vs Bat, Part 2.
I leave you with this hilarious home video of bat removal. Hockey gear SO comes in handy.