Going Bat-ty


Bat Boy

My Halloween Visitor

Little Miss Muffet has nothing on me. On Halloween (!!!) a bat fell off the ceiling and landed next to me. It just missed the printer. I sat, fingers poised over the keyboard, stunned, as I tried to process what the undeniably ugly, semi-rectangular brown thing squirming feebly eight inches from my foot could possibly be. Surely not a bat.

But, oh yes, it was.

I knew I had bats in the ceiling here because there are certain “tells.” Formerly invisible spider webs along the ceiling edges (OK, OK, I could be a better housekeeper. I could also  be younger and still able to see perfectly.) that become visible and brown.  Tiny brown flecks that appear overnight on my night table.  Small scratching sounds.

I had mentioned this to the landlord some time ago and he promised to do something about it.  I guess he forgot.  The something is, after all, enormously expensive.

But back to the immediate bat on the immediate floor.  I checked the ceiling.  No holes, so it must have flown in through the gap I have allowed to happen in the “screen door.”  I sincerely hoped it was just tired, not ill, and that exhaustion caused the fall, or perhaps its radar was faulty by reason of desperation and it had bounced off the window screen and been stunned by the fall.

In any case, I had to do something about it.  Since it wasn’t much bigger than a large moth,  the tried and true insect removal method seemed most practical.  I grabbed my glass of iced tea, chugged down the dregs, and carefully upended it over the little bat body.  Then I picked up a conveniently un-filed CD and carefully slid it under the glass.  Bat Boy stuck a wing out on one side and flapped a bit inside the glass.  Trying very hard not to put any pressure on those fragile little bones, I picked up the unit with both hands and marched to the door where I freed my captive.  He swooped off.

The thing is, as I have written before, I like bats.  They eat bugs.  There is enmity between the woman and the biting bugs. And there seem to be so many here in the Azuero. So I think fondly of anything that cuts back on the population trying to suck my blood or dissolve my flesh.  And as long as I don’t stick a finger where a bat can bite me, I’m not worried about catching rabies or Ebola or whatever from them.  However, bat pupu is another matter.  Where the bats make their home, they make pupu.  It can make you quite ill.  Histoplasmosis, the CDC tells us, mostly affects the lungs, but sometimes gets into other organs and when that happens can be fatal if untreated.  In the next breath the CDC also says, “While most infected persons have no apparent ill effects, antifungal medications are used to treat many forms of the disease.”

So, since I represent the Chicken Littles of the world, I prefer to stay away from bat pupu and avoid being bitten by rabid or ebola-bearing anythings. That means, no bats. A bat-free zone, as it were.

So with a ceiling rapidly filling with bat pupu, I am left with an ethical dilemma.  Can’t live with ’em, don’t want to kill them.  What to do? Well, fortunately the solution to my personal, immediate problem is simple.

I’m going to move.

Does that make me more of an ostrich than a chicken?