I startled my wife into wakefulness by shouting “BAT!” in the middle of the night.

Alas, I am no Laszlo Cravensworth, and I was not announcing my transformation into a bat — I was merely noting that there was a winged mammal doing circles above the marriage bed. We leapt up, throwing on robes, and started leaping and waving our arms to convince it to move elsewhere. It did. It flapped into the hallway, and we closed the bedroom door and resumed our dance there. Then it moved into the living room where it could whirl about at a greater radius, and we added broom waving and towel flapping to our repertoire. It flew into our kitchen, and at that point we had it.

Our strategy was to chase it into increasingly confined spaces, closing doors behind us and opening them in the direction we wanted it to go. From the kitchen, there was one way out, to the outside world, and while it fluttered frantically about us, it was defeated. Like a Turk at Lepanto, it at last realized it was either going to be crushed between the two terrifying flailing wings of our wedded partnership, or flee up the center. It chose wisely.

These intrusions have been occurring rather too frequently of late. We are debating what to do next: I suggested acquiring a large cannon and loading it with grapeshot to teach them a lesson, but Mary’s proposal to purchase a good-sized butterfly net has won out. At least for the next round in our no doubt continuing battle.


  1. Rich Woods says

    I suggest hanging garlic over the windows tonight. The bat was clearly an advance scout for the neighbourhood vampire.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Bats may be the group of mammals that is most closely related to primates, so you should be honoured.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Warning: if you allow bat guano to aggregate, the resulting fungal infections in the brain may turn you into Trump voters.

  4. says

    Get your house checked out for points of ingress. There’s a hole somewhere and if bats are getting it, you can bet other critters are, too.

  5. bcw bcw says

    The bat is probably living under your roof and you should probably figure out how it is entering the house.

  6. says

    We know they’re living under the roof of our adjoining garage. We have an older house with lots of strange joints that shift and change as the temperature shifts — for instance, some of our doors tend to get stuck when the weather cools, and others tend to get loose. Tracking down points of ingress seems hopeless, since bats are good at slithering through amazingly narrow cracks.

  7. garnetstar says

    Thanks to my cats, I have long experience with fully adult, very active, bats in my house. I’m practically a Batbuster.

    So here is absolutely the best way to quickly and safely remove them:

    Get something soft, like a T-shirt or a soft pillow. As the bat flies by you, tap it gently with the soft item (DO NOT swing at it, trying to knock it out of the air!). The bat will immediately drop to the floor and be still: I suppose it thinks that its sonar is off, and is trying not to fly into the side of a mountain.)

    Have a whisk broom or a large broom or a large brush handy, and put the bristles gently on top of the bat. Now get a dustpan and wriggle it under the bat, holding it down gently with the broom. Then take the broom/bat/dustpan sandwich outside and toss the bat up into the air. It’ll fly away immediately, like….well, like a bat out of hell.

    100% guaranteed to work in minutes, the bat is safe and outside and you can go back to bed. Really, try it, it always works.

  8. says

    Maybe hang a couple bat houses outside away from the house, giving them a more convenient place to roost yet encouraging them to stick around to keep the mosquitos in check.

  9. wzrd1 says

    garnetstar, never had to capture and evict a bat, but I’ve had to remove the occasional bird and squirrel that fell down the chimney and exited the damper vent into the basement.
    The net was my go-to, net it, carry it carefully, trying not to cause injury or get scratched/bit, get them outside and invert the net, while standing away and allow them to return to nature.
    Which was a step up from Dad’s method with one squirrel, he shot it with a .38 pistol loaded with scatter shot. Not a lick of shot hit the squirrel, but the wadding killed it, leaving him with quite a bit of blood to clean up.
    Yeah, I’ll stick with the net.

    I do wonder if those BS ultrasonic “pest repeller” units might work though, but then I remembered that PZ has a cat. Then, I considered just making one of my own, as cat hearing range isn’t quite as high in frequency as a bat’s hearing frequency range and transducers are pretty cheap these days.
    Well, that or put up prominent signs warning, in batese, of heavy contamination with the mold that causes white nose syndrome. Surely the bats would then seek safer accommodation. ;)

  10. garnetstar says

    The net sounds great for squirrels and other small ground animals, even birds, which my cats never bring inside. But, what with bats flying, not as easy to net them (well, for me). How about birds, do you find it easy to net them on the fly? Maybe you have better aim than I do, The tap method for bats is really fast, works on the first try, never fails. Would not work for birds! So, stick to your net! Sounds like it works for you.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Cohabiting mammals:
    There are blueprints around for making simple hedgehog hibernation “houses” helping these humble insectivores survive the bad months.

    They are popular guests in Swedish gardens, and eat a wide variety of food. They have no problems co-existing with cats and are quite harmless.

  12. Jazzlet says

    wrzd1 @11
    We had an infesatiion of mice in our cellar and cleared it with one of those sonic repellers, plus once we had done that we set it to cover the air vent they used to use to come into the house in autumn and we never had a problem again. Obviously anecdotal, but there we are. None of our dogs seemed to be at all bothered by the thing, no cats so I can’t comment on their reaction.

    doc bill
    Way to show you didn’t watch the embeded video or even read it’s title!

  13. wzrd1 says

    Jazzlet @ 11, at Temple University Hospital, we had ultrasonic light controls to automagically turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. I also had working hearing aids back then, so I’d get disoriented by the amplified ultrasonic noise from the infernal things. Learned to turn the damned things off when I entered those offices. Couldn’t hear the things, but the sound pressure was acutely disorientating and induced vertigo.
    The hearing aids also were running in flat mode, as the audiologist couldn’t get the software to tune them to my hearing loss. :/

    Since the hearing aids failed and the high cost of replacement, I’ve just resorted to the lower tech, “Huh?” a lot.

  14. says

    My suggestion: Get a rabies shot just in case. Now, you’re probably fine but you really can’t be too careful.

    Too bad we can’t vaccinate the poor bat against whatever diseases humans carry. I mean, we’re kind of a gross species…

  15. Silentbob says

    Dude. He was only visiting to offer you some rats to go with your spiders.
    You’re being very ungrateful.

  16. says

    #24 Silent Bob – Dwight Frye – the actor who played Renfield in 1931 Dracula was the about the most amazing thing in that movie. I re-watched it recently and was blown away by the depth and pathos of that performance. Stole every scene he was in even those with Lugosi.

  17. says

    My ex successfully used a long-handled fishing net to catch and release bats at a former place of employment (an old school that had been converted). Once, a bat was flying back and forth down a long hallway with 12-foot ceilings, refusing to settle anywhere. He scooped the bat right out of the air, much to everyone’s amazement (or that’s how he told the story, anyway).