Bats in the belfry… I mean closet

Bat in the ClosetIt all began a couple of weeks ago. Lying in bed at night, SLP and I both heard a strange rustling sound in the ceiling. Unable to do anything about it, and uncertain if it even was anything to be concerned about, we listened for a few minutes and then, when it stopped, went back to sleep.

Then we went away for a week. We’ve been back for three or four days. Last night around 10 PM we were lying in bed, each watching our respective iPods. (Me, Curb Your Enthusiasm; she, 30 Rock; the fact that we were both isolated in the worlds of our pocket-sized cocoons rather than interacting with each other or even watching the same show, a sign of the times. We’ve also been known to sit side-by-side, each competing against an AI opponent in computer Scrabble, rather than just busting out the board and playing the game together.)

And then it happened. We both jolted up at the sound of a thud and some frantic rustling in the cheap economical IKEA wardrobe at the foot of the bed.

What transpired next was a scene worthy of the sitcoms we were watching.

“Did you hear that?”

“Yeah… was it… in the closet???”

“I think so.”

“What should we do?”


“Maybe it was just some clothes falling down.”

“Yeah…” And then I went for it. Foolish, perhaps, but I opened the door. The next 1/8 of a second happened in slow motion. Something dark writhed slowly in the air and landed, stunned, on the floor.

“IT’S A BAT!” I shrieked, channeling my inner 7-year-old girl.

We both leapt from the bed and danced around on tiptoes, arms flailing, for a few seconds.

“Cover it!”

“With what???”

“Find something!!!!”

I grabbed an empty toy bin and nervously inched towards the still-still bat. I frantically threw the bin over it, hoping it was covered.

“Now what?”

“Is it dead?”

“I don’t know. I think I hear it rustling around in there.”

After consulting the Interwebs, we determined a course of action: SLP went down to the basement to get a large piece of cardboard to slide under the bin, trapping the bat in a makeshift cage, while I continued the tiptoe dance upstairs. (Miraculously our 4 1/2-year-old son slept peacefully, feet away, through it all.)

Eventually she returned with the cardboard, which I gingerly slid under the bin. I peeked around to the back, where I discovered (with more shrieks and cringing) that part of one of the bat’s wings was protruding… but it appeared secure.

My wife sprinted down to the kitchen as I carefully made my way, holding the cardboard in place and somehow controlling my natural clumsiness adequately to keep from bumping against a door frame and prematurely freeing the beast, until I made it to the back door.

While she held the door open, I stepped out into the snow in my bare feet, shouted, “Here we go!” and with much haste hurled the lot as far out onto the driveway as possible.

It took several hours to come down from the trauma, but eventually I fell asleep. I saw this morning that our driveway-sharing neighbor had moved it off to the side, and it did not appear that anyone had needed to be taken to the hospital for rabies shots, so I am assuming the bat escaped.

The question remains, how exactly did it get into the roof (assuming it was what we heard a few weeks ago), and furthermore how it got from the rafters down into the bedroom and then, unnoticed, into the wardrobe. I blame shoddy work by the roofers who probably did not adequately vent our bathroom fan two years ago. For now, though, I am simply glad that there are (as far as we know) no longer any non-human mammals dwelling in our home.