Continuing with my old critter stories this week, the next in that line of stories is Charlie the bat! This was originally posted on October 17, 2011.
In an earlier post I mentioned how I have had a few visitors during the night. I told you the story of my stay in the old farm house and the mice I shared a bed with. It’s a great story, so if you haven’t read it yet, you should. 😉
This post is about a related incident that took place a few years later, in a different state, with a different visitor. I was sharing a small apartment on the top floor of an old brick building with a chemical engineer. She valued me as a roommate because she had zero tolerance for animals other than cute, fluffy kittens and puppies with big eyes. Our apartment was right up in the tree canopy and had a lot of wildlife, to my pleasure and her distress. She always called on me to help with the various representatives of the insect and arachnid orders. Earwigs were strangely commonplace and they especially liked to occupy the poor girl’s yoga mat.
We had a few vertebrates as well, squirrels in the vents and flying squirrels in the walls. Flying squirrels can make quite a racket for something so small.
One night, soon after I had moved in, my roommate came pounding on my door at 2 am. I had been asleep, but in response to her distress, I was instantly on my feet. Let me explain that at this point I may not have had my full mental facilities within easy grasp. Part of my brain, I’m sure, was still off frolicking with Queen Mab (see earlier post).
When I opened the door, my roommate shouted something about a bat frantically in my face . I smiled placidly and patted her arm, then walked out into the living room. There was indeed a little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) flapping helplessly around. He buzzed past my face, then grabbed onto a wall desperately. With all of my bird banding experience, I easily snatched him with one hand and carried him into the bathroom (as he chewed on my thumb with sharp little needle teeth) for a quick photograph.
I nicknamed him Charlie and then walked out to the balcony and opened my hand to let him fly. He flopped onto the railing, held on with one toe, to my alarm (I thought he might fall), and then he flapped off into the night. I waved goodnight to my roommate and went to sleep. It only when I awoke the next morning that I realized how stupid I had been…wild bats are known to carry rabies, after all. I didn’t think he’d pierced my skin, but it was still a stupid thing to do barehanded.
A few months later, I woke in the middle of the night to something much more subtle. I thought I heard and felt something in my bed. Now, if you have read the other post I put up, you will understand when I say that this felt familiar. I was well trained now, so I flung on the lights and flung aside the covers and found…Charlie, curled up in the crook of my knee.