Friday, August 8, 2008


I was on the phone this morning, making appointments to handle a couple of complaints when another call came through. A man was calling to have a dead bird submitted for testing. Also wanted to let me know that he had found three dead bats in the last week. Huh. Even though bats have nothing to do with my job, I kind of got the idea that this ought to be reported. Had no idea who to call so I called the game commission. My favorite officer is on leave, but I talked to another fellow from some distance away. I explained to him that I shipped bird samples and that I had a dead bird kit in my truck that I could use to store the bat. We agreed to meet up on Monday, and I would hand off my little dead friend.
When I got to the house, the bird was untestable, being in the advanced stages of decomposition. The bat was hanging about face level at the back door. I could understand the poor woman's heebie jeebies. However, when I reached for the bat, he weakly raised his head and bared his little teeth at me. Well. Now this was a fine predicament. The woman wanted him gone. I was not going to kill him. I tried to shoo him away with a newspaper. He raised his head, bared his teeth, but did not move from his Christmas light roost. The two of us stood there staring at the thing. "Well," I said, "that's certainly not normal behavior." The woman said, "It couldn't be rabies, right? Because he's not foaming at the mouth or anything." So I turned to her and started to explain rabies, the fact that there the so called 'furious' rabies, but there is also 'silent' rabies cases where the affected creature simply acts sick. Much to my shock, the woman's eyes went wide, her mouth flew open and the loudest scream I'd ever heard rent the air. Just that quickly, the woman was gone. She leapt into her garage and slammed the door in my face. I stood there staring at her, wondering what the hell the bat was doing behind my back, scarcely daring to move. Slowly, carefully, I turned my head to see the bat still hanging on his Christmas light. I turned back to the garage door which had opened just the tiniest crack. A small sliver of her face peeked through. "He moved his head while you were talking!" she whispered hoarsely.
You ever have someone scream in your face?
I am proud to say that I maintained my professional composure.
Translate this to: 'I did not wet my pants.'


jeanie said...

Oooh - how creepy!!

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

Now that is a DEPEND moment if ever I heard one... good Lord. I'd have screamed back in her face for good measure - that's a hideous thing to do to someone. But then I'm not the calm seasoned professional you are!!

Is the bat OK??
What happened next?

Debby said...

Let me clarify...I was not at all calm. For some reason, I got it in my head that he was climbing over my shoulder or something. I turned my head ever so slowly, and was actually shocked to find him where he'd been when I turned my back on him.

I stopped by on the way home tonight. He was still hanging there. I put on my leather work gloves, reached out ever so slowly, and he did not move. I plucked him down, put him in a ziplock bag (I keep a couple boxes in my truck at all times).

The poor woman was still hopping around when I lifted him down, but she did not scream. She even managed to hold the zip lock open while I slipped him in, tap dancing at the same time.

Pencil Writer said...

Debby--NO ONE but you could have such a continually interesting and challenging life!!!

We had bats falling out of trees at Girl's Camp. That was spooky--particularly AFTER one of MY girls was bitten by a rattle snake the night before--our FIRST night at camp. We left camp before sundown the second day. Yes. The girl DID finally recover, but her poor leg was swollen and black & blue from her toes (bite site) up to nearly the top of her thigh. After several months, she recovered full use of her leg w/o further problems. She's married with, I think, 3 children now.

That camp was a VERY SCARY place and we NEVER went camping there again!

Keep us posted on the outcome of the batty bat, K?

Mary Paddock said...

Calm or not, I suspect you handled yourself better than I would have.
And I like bats. Just not screaming women.

A cat brought a dead bat into the house last summer. It was clear she thought she had a bird and she very obviously wanted her favorite people to partake of her find. We love our beautiful Zoe, but she's not one of our more intelligent felines.

I sent it to the health department for rabies testing, just to be on the safe side. Thank goodness it came back negative.

Debby said...

Um...PW? Sounds like you have some excitement in your own life from time to time...

Mary: I like bats as well. Much better than a shocking scream in my face.