Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Going Batty

I’ve dealt with my fair share of creepy crawlies over the years, living in the Caribbean, the UK and the West Coast.      
In the Caribbean, there are huge flying cockroaches, giant hairy spiders, colourful unidentifiable bugs, Mona Boa Snakes and Scorpions!  Even Bats, but they were well-behaved.
Scorpions; horrid lobster-insect like things that hide under stones, in cupboards and sometimes in your shorts, and I’ve been stung three times!  A Friend of mine gave me a Scorpion necklace as a sort of Purple Heart of survival.  Ugh!  I can barely look at it, let alone wear the damned thing, but for some reason I keep it.

On the West Coast, Vancouver Island, slimy fat black slugs attack precious flowers, Randy Deer eat the foliage and of course early mornings there are bear and cougar sightings to be wary of.
With all this creature experience, I thought I’d be immune to Ontario’s Wildlife, imagining the odd bold squirrel attacking the dog or cute foraging raccoons or roosting aggresive crows.  I was ready for anything Ontario felt like throwing at me, yet surprisingly this was not the case. 

Vancouver Island Buck

SLIMY SLugs - Ugh!

BATS!  I’ve discovered I’m terrified of them!  Yes, people keep telling me, they’re harmless.  Watching them whoop and dive amongst the high tree tops, looking like Soaring Stingrays of the Sky, gulping down ounces and digesting mouthfuls of insects, yes how lovely, how useful! 

My first night home after my trip to England, my sister and I spent the evening making a delicious pasta dinner, chatting about our weeks apart and drinking copious amounts of Pino Grigio.  We said our goodnights near midnight and went to sleep.
At around 2 a.m. I awoke to a rustling sound in my curtain then a kerplop and suspicious scuffling sound.  I thought I was dreaming but decided to turn on the light…..bloody hell… a BAT whirling round my ceiling!  It’s sonar sense obviously intact, as it managed to avoid getting chopped in two by the rotating blades of the ceiling fan.  I let out a shriek as it zoomed over my side of the bed.  I crawled to the door and turned the light on in the kitchen, Bloody Hell it followed me, I imagined it cackling (effects of the wine I expect) while it sailed and soared around my kitchen.  “Help!”  I cried.
My sister shouted from her bedroom downstairs, “Are you okay?”
“No!”  I wailed.
“Oh my God, what’s wrong?”  She told me later that she imagined an intruder in the house or I’d received a phone call with terrible news!
“It’s a BAT! And It’s Huge!”
“What?”  She raced up the stairs to find me teetering on the top step, trying to throw a sheet over the fantastic fleeting nightmare of a thing.  She collapsed into a heap of hysterical laughter.
“It’s not funny!”  I shouted.  “What are we going to do?”  I was nearly crying.
My sister could hardly speak she was laughing so hard.  “I don’t know.  Just come and sleep downstairs.”
“NO!”  I was horrified.  “We have to get it outside, otherwise it’ll be here all night!!” 
While we argued on how to catch and remove it, the bat in a wink of a drunken eye rocketed out of sight. 
“Where the Hell has it gone?”
“Look the window is open, it’s flown away.” My sister told me and so relieved and slowly we went back to sleep.

2nd Night
Midnight, the Bat returns which means Horror Of Horrors the blessed bloody bat must have slept somewhere in the house during the daylight hours.  Again, my shrieking returns, and again my sister is laughing at me.  But this time, I take a huge brave breath and seize the golden opportunity when it lands on the window ledge and I lunge at it with a plastic bag and grasp it firmly, run downstairs and set the bag on the front lawn where it crawls creepily out of the crackling plastic, relieved to be released it into the dark night.
The next day, I install homemade screens on the only two windows without screens.  Problem solved….? Or so I thought.

Several Weeks Later. 
Naturally I thought my Bat intrusions had stopped. It had been weeks and I prided myself on how clever I’d been fixing and installing the screens all on my own, what a clever Girl!  HA! How I bragged, but Pride cometh before a Fall.  It’s a sad ironic story where The Bat & I would be forced to an unhappy dual. 
Please read no further should you be a follower of Gandhi or The Dalai Lama and I sincerely apologise to all living creatures no matter how ugly.

This is the next day, Bat hanging from outdoor fireplace.

The couch is a very comfy place and I’d been blissfully sleeping there for the past four nights, due to visiting friends and cousins.  But, my first night in my own bed was not so happy.  I sprawled out marvelling in the mounds of available mattress space and soon was soundly asleep.  Jango my ancient doggie, whimpered slightly around the BAT Hour which I’ve discovered is at precisely 2 a.m. 
“What Jango?”  I sat up and felt a slight whoosh.  “No, it can’t be" I said aloud as I cowered back behind a pillow and shakily turned on the side lamp.  Yes, ha ha, I’m back
I grabbed my pillow and hid underneath, trembling for an escape, I slunk out the bedroom door. It’s rubbery wings and furry flying body followed me once again, I felt it anticipated my moves.  “How can this be?”  I shrieked in terror.
I switched on the kitchen light and the entire scenario began to replay itself with the creature from the depths of hell, laughing and diving above me.  It was bigger and uglier than before and when it landed on the window ledge, it’s little demon like face grinned and barred its fangs.

photo from internet - too freaked to take my own photo
Again I shrieked and wondered what the sleeping neighbours might think, it was then I transformed into a different persona and morphed into a revengeful someone I didn’t recognize. 

There was no way in Hell, I was going to let this thing live in my house.  It was either Me or the BAT and now it was my fangs that were showing.  I grabbed a broom and yes, I’m sorry to say, I swung it like a baseball bat as it dodged like a boxer around me, after three strikes, I hit it.  Bang, the thing rolled landing by Jango’s front paws.  He gave me a sad look, one that said, “What have you done?” 
The wild gleam in my eye soften slightly and a tremendous guilt swept through me as the almighty Bat lay crumpled in a heap and I dithered over to investigate. 
“Eeks!” The creature conned me as it took off in flight once more. 
Well, I’m sad to say, that the killer in me possessed my body once more and that was that for the BAT. 
The next night, I kept all the windows closed, perplexed as to how the sinister beings entered the house.  I didn’t relish a repeat encounter and I certainly did not enjoy this new murderous side of myself.  The next day I realized there was a small gap between the window and the screen and I read online about Bat roosting season and how they sought out places to hibernate.  Again the guilt washed over me, until I read this in the local paper! 

Rabid bat found in Perth County
A bat captured in South Easthope on Aug. 3 has tested positive for rabies.
This is the second animal in Perth County to test positive for rabies in 2012.
Earlier this summer a stray cat tested positive in the Mornington Ward; however, this is the first bat to test positive for rabies since August 2009.
Bats are very active this time of year as they prepare to hibernate.
“Bats are a concern because they can expose a person to rabies,” says Kate Beath, public health inspector. “We want residents to be prepared if they come across one in their home.”
People may become infected with rabies when bitten or scratched by a rabid bat, or when a rabid bat’s saliva comes into contact with broken skin or moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes.
If left untreated, rabies is fatal in humans.
“It’s important to take the right steps when you have a bat in the house,” says Beath. “Ultimately, if you see a bat, try to stay away from it.”

All the Gaps have been fixed now and so I hope this is the end of my BAT Adventures, but I still wake up at 2 a.m. in a panic dreaming of the Beat of Black Wings in my bedroom.

Now I am going to end my story with a pastoral photo of some lovely cows to soothe my soul, taken around October last year near Stratford Ontario.

Moo! Moo!

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