Critter tale

All right.  It’s time.

A few years ago one summer night the cat who sleeps on my bed leaped on with such a big thud that it woke me up.  This in itself worried some far off, sleep-dim part of my brain since she usually comes and goes pretty reasonably, but I groaned and told her to get lost. She left but was back almost instantly with the same big thud, right in the middle of my bed, and this time I noticed a strange noise coming from about the same spot.  At this point the on guard part of my brain was running around to the other parts, banging on doors, switching on lights, calling for backup.  Something not good was happening.  Not good at all.

So as I reached for the lamp I wondered what I was going to be greeted by, sharing my bed.

OK well there you go.  Bat hadn’t actually been on the list.

Image 15

There was Lucy standing with a paw firmly on the back of a small brown bat, who was lying on its belly, cursing pretty profusely in what I assume was bat sailor talk.  Understandable. And this little drama was playing out about a foot away from me.


By this time the brain backup had arrived so I jumped into action, first out of that scary bed!  I shooed Lucy off but she and her sister, Scout, were circling, hopping up and down with excitement, taking little leaps up onto the bed before being scolded back down.  Scout isn’t too great of a hunter.  She’s good on lizards (unfortunately) and moths (go for it) but most of the big game appears because of her sister.  She looked full of both envy and pride for her sibling over this turn of events.

Having leaped out of bed I stood there a bit stunned wondering what to do next.  The official name for what I wear to bed is “not much” and I was feeling pretty vulnerable.  But the bat, with its paw paperweight removed from its back, was starting to whir and flap and that was something up with which I could not put!  I ran to the dirty laundry hamper, bypassed my nice white towels (because… you know… bats are dirty like snakes are slimy) and grabbed a black shirt. Headed back and threw it over the bat. Whew.  Realized if I put it out the window that it had been dragged in through we’d be replaying the whole thing a few minutes later.  And also, maybe a black shirt wasn’t such a great idea.  Hard to tell if it contained a dark little bat or not.  Still, I carefully gathered the shirt up with the bat apparently somewhere inside, took it to my middlest’s window on the back of the house.  He was away at a sleepover so wouldn’t be messed up either by the experience of a bat being transported through his room  in the middle of a night or the even worse condition of it being done by a “not-much” wearing mom.

I held the shirt out the window and gently opened it.  Maybe it was my imagination but I though I heard a little swish and wished the poor little thing well, hoped it was OK and would bounce back from it’s hard night.

I’ve wanted to tell you that story for a while.  Why now?

You can see it coming right?

Replay. Last night.  That feeling that the cat is behaving a little differently than usual.  I clued in a little quicker this time.  Purposely grabbed a white shirt instead of black.  Glared and hissed at both cats and told Lucy that really it was time that we think about parting ways.  Lucy has been in my bad books for a few weeks now.  Even more than usual.  The fact that she brought the bat right to my side of the bed this time makes me think she really does get this and was trying to make repairs, suck up a little.  Chocolate, Lucy, chocolate would be so much better.

That suggestion would be echoed by the squeaky voice of the bat, although this being the second time through I had time to register the noise a bit better and this guy was buzzing like a big bumble bee.  And I continued to have time to register because unlike the first time I could not get this guy into the towel.  I kept gently gathering it up thinking I had him enclosed and then catching a glimpse of him on the bed still.  I jumped every time.  Like I didn’t know there was a bat in my bed.  It’s that vulnerable feeling.  If you knew how tiny this bat was you’d mock me.  So… it was huge.  Big teeth.  The look of a lout.

I struggled and struggled and worried about this little guy and I may have stomped my foot, thought of waking sleeping offspring to help me, but eventually got a piece of cardboard under and that helped.  But the back bedroom was occupied this time.  Sleeping boy.  Man I’m so nice.  So I went down the dark hall and then down the dark stairs, with no hands available to feel my way down the wall.  I thought about turning the light on but didn’t want to wake anyone up.  There’s a serious  problem with how nice I am, isn’t there??

I got down the stairs, got the door to the porch open, and put the towel bundle down on a seat.  Stepped away and thought to close the door behind me before seeing what the bat would do.  Yeah, we’ve had a swooping bat in the house experience too.  Not fun.  I wasn’t even there for it and still I think not fun. It greeted my teenage son when he came back from away for the first time on his own to an empty house, and it swooped down at him when he turned on the lights and then disappeared again.  Not fun at all.  But I digress.  Bat stories.  Like peanuts.

So last night’s bat took a moment to breathe in the cool air and then started roaming and I headed back inside pretty quick.  Not sure what his chances are.  One of his wings wasn’t looking so good, and there was a bit of blood on my blanket, but I sent him good thoughts and hope it will work out for him.  They are such cute things.


This picture? Another bat experience chez Tan.  I’ll spare you this one, but after an escapade in the dark with one the next day we found this little guy hanging upside down on the pole outside the front door.  The same one? Who knows?  We’re pretty hard to say goodbye to.


8 Responses to “Critter tale”

    • jennifertan47

      Hi You! Welcome back! Looking forward to catching up on your travels. And yes….yikes!!! Was pitifully glad to not repeat the experience last night.

  1. occasionalartist

    Hi Jennifer, I also used to get many visits from bats in a cottage I lived in, in fact they used to come and stay in my roof (Not happy but the little critters were protected). Many episodes of swooping bat and barking dog, though no cat to bring me ‘presents’. I also used to gather them up and take them outside in various discarded pieces of clothing.

    My favorite memory is one day I was cleaning up after breakfast, more hours after the meal than I will disclose and I was pouring out the water of the porridge pot that had been soaking when I noticed something moving in my sink. Once the I got over my fright at my porridge left overs coming to life, I realised that a little bat had been sitting in my sink (perhaps having a drink?) and I had dumped cold porridge over his head and there he was all wet and bedraggled with porridge clinging on all over him. When I had stopped laughing I washed him off and dried him and let him warm beside the fire before I sent him off on his way. Karen

    • jennifertan47

      Oh I LOVED reading that story. It sounds like a kids’ story in the making! I’m fairly chill about these things in the bigger picture, although a little panicky in the moment, but you’re my new hero. Ice water, lady! I love the image of you giving the little thing a wash up and inviting it to sit by your fire. Thank you so much for this!
      Also, I’ve fallen out of the blogosphere a bit trying to meet some deadlines and needing to take a breath but I’m looking forward to catching up on your printing projects. Enjoy your batless house! Jennifer

  2. SnowfoxBandit

    I had a bat get stuck between my screen and my inner window a few times when I lived in my college apartment. I didn’t want to open the glass and have him flying around the room, but I didn’t want the poor guy stuck in there either. (I really like bats!) Luckily he made it out alright, poor thing. Glad yours did the same!

    • jennifertan47

      How on earth did he get in there? They have so much soul, don’t they? And I love their gargoyle-ish faces, although not staring back at me from the other pillow.
      I’ve been missing in action in the blogosphere and your blog is one of a few that I’m looking forward to catching up on when I get the next deadline out of the way. Hope all is well and your new school-less world is feeling more and more like what you want it to be!

      • SnowfoxBandit

        Thanks! I’ve been largely MIA too, life is more hectic than I’d hoped for now. 🙂

        No idea how he got in, but since it happened at least twice, I’m wondering if he was hanging on the roof and found a hole in the screen or something – we were the 3rd floor of an old 3-story building. I’m just glad he got out okay! They really do have a lot of soul. I wouldn’t want one in bed with me either, but I don’t find them scary like many people. They’re fascinating – and often really cute! 🙂


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