When I was in Malaysia last summer, one of the things I did was visit Gua Telings (Ear Cave) in Taman Negara, the large national park in peninsular Malaysia (a few hours' drive from Kuala Lumpur). Gua Telings, or "Bat Cave" as it is often fondly called, provided me with an unforgettable 90 minutes (or so) crawling through this incredibly small series of caves (I have heard the skill required described as being that of Spiderman-like contortions, and that's no joke) that is home to many bats. I am afraid of bats, at least in confined spaces. Outdoors where they can swoop around and be free without me having to worry about them landing in my hair - fine. But as a general rule, I like to keep my distance. However, I bravely picked my way through the caves, past the bats, and soaked up my fair share of bat-shit, plus got some great photos along the way. It was great.
So. Fast forward to June 4, 2005, approximately 11 months after Gua Telings. Saturday night, downtown Ottawa, 1 a.m. The location is not a cave but rather the more mundane location of the bedroom. We are lying in bed. Randal is reading, the dog and I are dropping off to sleep. We hear a soft ffwwit-fwit-fwit sound from the kitchen. I look at Randal, he looks at me, Rion looks at both of us.
"Shall I check it out? Probably something fell," I say.
"If you think..."
"Well," I respond, "if you're not fussed about it, neither am I."
So we remained in bed.
Not more than 60 seconds later, a BAT comes flying into our room. I shriek and do my best duck-and-cover routine under the sheets. Randal jumps up, says, "I got it!", and I hear him grab the dog and hustle out of the room.
Time passes. Eventually, after an eternity, I peek out from under the sheets. Though I do not have my glasses on, I shriek again, "I can see it! It's behind the door hanging off!!! Augh!" The bat suddenly decides not to remain behind the door (who ever thought they were attracted by the sound of shrieking girls - now all those Hollywood thrillers make sense to me) and starts looping wildly around the room. I shriek some more and duck back under the covers. Apparently at this point, the dog, who had been put behind a (small but normally effective) barrier in the living room so he could not interact with the flying rodent, decided he must jump the barrier and run to my rescue. So did Randal, thankfully, and he saw the bat swooping around the room and the dog staring up at it, tongue lolling out, tail wagging wildly, just watching it. A new playtoy!
Rion was removed from the room once more. And Randal, now clad in jeans, rainjacket, work gloves, and a Burmese conical rice-paddy hat, brandishing a mop, gets to be the Hero of this story. First, he propped open the balcony door (luckily, the balcony is off our bedroom - very convenient for bat-removals). Then he got the bat to settle down on the mop. I didn't see any of this, of course - I was busy sweltering with heat (it was REALLY hot that night) and shaking with fear under the sheets and duvet.
He tried to get me to peek out to look at the bat on the mop - apparently it was really cute. I flatly refused. Good thing, too - the bat chose that moment to swoop off the mop-head and dove right for where my head would have been had I decided to look. I screamed some more (I felt it swoop). A few minutes (and much under-cover sweating) later, he had the bat on the mop again, and ushered it out the door and back into the wild.
We figure it came in through the kitchen window. We have screens, but the windows are old and there is a gap of a few inches between the inner window and the outer screen. Needless to say, first thing Monday morning I called up the superintendent for the building and he will be coming by hopefully later this week to block up that gap so that we have no more nightly visitors.
So if you have any bats in your apartment, you know who to call. Hint: Not me. But I know this guy who has a routine down-pat, complete with Asian rice hat - this is our second bat in this apartment (I was absent for the first, thank god).
And now, I am off to a (hopefully) bat-free sleep.