Sunday, 16 January 2011

Tales of Gotham City

The office called me.
"We just had a call from *****-******, and they've got a bat in their office. Can you get there pretty quick and catch it?"

My immediate response was to say "Don't be silly".
I told them to look up bats, and the handling thereof, on the interwebs,  and then call the correct, properly trained and equipped people.
I've caught and ejected all manner of unwanted visitors before... rat, mice, pigeons, a sparrowhawk, various stray dogs and cats, but never, to date, a bat. What I do know about bats is that they're more than a little likely to bite, if cornered, they bite easily through leather gloves, and a bite from a bat is to be treated as potentially rabid. The treatment for anybody even suspected to have been exposed to rabies is no joke.

The notes we found said "If the bat has come into physical contact with a human, or is found in a room where a person has been asleep, the bat should be captured and handed over to the government veterinary officer for investigation."
Full face shield, cut resistant sleeves, stout leather gloves...
So, this time,  I turned down the opportunity for adventure, left the batmobile in the batcave, and let the RSPCA sent a bat-trained guy out to catch it.
I was still sent out to find out how it got in... that was easy. The office muppets had left a window open overnight.


  1. Actually, bats are quite intelligent, and will listen to reason if you calmly explain what you want them to do and don't run around hysterically chasing them with nets. They are fellow mammals, you know, but so are whales, I suppose. They do not relish being bitten by humans, either.

    You have government vets? Available to you free of charge in bat emergencies? In my wildest utopian fantasies I dare not to dream of such. (We only have the fire department, to my knowledge.)

    There is a large cave in the southern part of the state where I live, and the bats, 12 zillion strong, thereabouts, come out in the summertime to go insect-hunting at night. You can sit in a little area and watch them fly out en mass as a park ranger (Federal, of course - they've taken over all the good parts of our land for themselves) explains to you the habits of the Mexican something-tailed bat. It has been some years since I've heard the lecture, but I'm sure it includes information about how many insects the herd (flock? Bevy? Pride?) of bats can eat in one outing.

    For free, this lecture and viewing. Or was.

    That's pretty much the limit of my bat-commenting ability. Unless you want to get into cartoon characters.

  2. I attempted once in the past to reason with bats, but the problem is that no matter how hard I try, I can't get my voice up there into their register. And don't suggest any form of nasty gonad removal...

    The government vets work for the department of agriculture, and investigate stuff like mad cow disease and salmonella in eggs, and on how wild animals pass diseases to farm animals.
    So they're the people who would check out a bat to find out whether it was carrying any disease.
    Bats are a protected species. If they decide to come and live in your roof, you can't just chuck them out and nail up any openings, oh no, they'll take you to court and pretty soon you'll find the bats are evicting you, and claiming vast sums in damages.

    We had an old mill that was due for demolition. The buildings weren't adaptable to new purposes, so the company sold the land for building. Some of the office buildings were to be retained and turned into apartments, all the rest had to be demolished.
    Some local residents objected. The planning officers ruled in favour of the demolition. So the protestors then said the demolition could not go ahead, as there were bats in the roof. So the bulldozers stood idle. We had to get a bat expert in to do a survey. His people put up a lot of little sound recorders, infra-red cameras, and fine netting. They caught a few bats, gave us a count of all the bats that had been over the site in a whole month, we had three separate species, and all, according to the experts, were tree-dwellers, and none were roosting in the buildings. BRRRRM! BRRRRM! Roll bulldozers!

  3. I've seen a lot of Robins, but only once seen what I thought were bats.

  4. That's an odd story, about protecting bats. No dearth of bats in the new world. They say some breeds latch onto cattle and feed off their blood. They have some sort of enzyme in their saliva that stops the blood from clotting. Vampire bats I think they call them, though I don't think they live forever. Those kind I think we can just send to you if you want. The insect eating ones are probably loved by farmers.

  5. More than you ever wanted to know about bats:

  6. "Bat Conservation Trust" ???

    That's a Monty Python skit right? Surely not a real organization.

    Your politicians have much too much free time on their hands.

    I'm guessing you can't just go into a cave and empty a 31-round clip, even if you can bare your arms.

  7. Though my armed bears might just venture into a batcave, despite the bat-shit raining down from above, but they'd never be foolish enough to loose off a whole thirty-round clip, oh no, my armed bears would expect the bats to shoot back, or at least that said bears might catch ricochets, rock chips, and a veritlabe deluge of sudden bat incontinence.
    On no. My bears are wilier than that. If there was a contract out on them bats, and the bears stood to make a lot of wonga, then they'd use napalm. From a distance.
    Or just enough cheap flash-bangs to deafen the bats.
    Remember. a deaf bat can't eat....
    And bears have such thick fur they aren't scared of vampires.


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