‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Restocking the Belfry

"We'll call the exterminator when I get back," my boss said, many years and thousands of miles ago.

There were bats in the attic of the school where I worked, and someone had expressed concern about methane build-up. I never considered myself a particular fan of bats, but the idea of exterminating them didn't set well with me. So I made sure my boss had really left for her business trip and I called Urban Wildlife Rescue.

"We have some bats and my boss wants to gas them. I have a week to get them out of here. Can you bring a shoe box?"

They arrived, after explaining patiently that it was winter and they'd need to keep the bats in coolers until spring because they were hibernating. The coolers in question were the kinds of things you take to the beach full of beer. My point being, check before you grab a cooler if you hang with wildlife rescue people.

I took them to the attic, which turned into a scene from Scooby Doo when we walked in. Flurries of bats were illumined by thousands of pinpoints of light. The roof, which was a good two+ stories high in the center, looked like a colander. The rescue people informed me that a) there weren't enough coolers in WalMart for the quantity of bats we had and b) we'd have to fix all the holes or they'd come right back.

The wildlife people then scheduled a visit with a sonar thingy to see if they were part of SETI and sending messages from our attic. Or something. Instead, they discovered that we had a nursing colony. My school had the dubious distinction of housing one of the largest bat populations in the metro area. The National Wildlife Federation was called, but not by me. I was busy looking for a new job.

While I had failed to relocate the bats, I had made exterminating them impossible.

Not only that, but since it was a nursing colony, they strongly encouraged us to hold off on the 97 quadrillion dollars worth of historic restoration we had scheduled. Construction crews were halted until the babies left the nest. Or whatever.

My recollection is fuzzy, but this may have been when I moved across the country. It was "unrelated."

This was all many years ago. My boss and I became and remained friends in spite of the bats. Or perhaps because of the bats.

Last week she sent me a message to let me know that the school was finally patching all the holes. The bats, she said, would need new homes. I fully expect UPS to deliver WalMart's entire stock of coolers - marked fragile - to my door.


Kristin @ Going Country said...

We used to have a nursing colony in our attic, which is why I was forever finding bats in the curtains and the washing machine and on the floor. But then they mostly disappeared, presumably wiped out by the white-nose disease. Our mosquito population had gone up correspondingly.

hggns said...

Not an expert in these things, but I've heard the local baseball team could use some good, high altitude bats? So presumably a happy ending is in store for everyone but the 'squitos. You deserve the Commissioner Gordon Award- for sending up the bat signal!

Trout Towers said...

Don't try acting like you didn't put me up to it, Hggns.

Tiny Dancer said...

Bats are so interesting . . . as long as they are not flying around one's apartment in that stealthy way they have!

Remind me someday to tell you my bat story.