The Public Eye

printed 10/01/2021

Despite being a huge fan of wildlife, from creepy crawlers to things that will bite you if you aren’t careful, the one creature that gives me the inexplicable heebie-jeebies is bats.

If I were to produce a friend-to-animals resume, it would read:

Good with — snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, birds, furry creatures, insects.

Okay with — Spiders (except for really big hairy ones, like the one that crawled up my pajamas pants leg in Scout camp — “Dear mom, please send another pair of pajamas ASAP. P.S. I was not prepared).”

Not good with — Bats. Suffer from heebie-jeebies.

Bearing that in mind, it was with great interest that I read a story this week of an older gentleman from Illinois who woke up with a bat sucking on his neck.

This, in my opinion, would be at least a two-pajama situation ... three or more if this bat resembled Bela Lugosi, spoke with a Transylvanian accent and was spotted wearing a cloak and tuxedo in its off-hours.

But no, this was an all-American bat that had apparently been living in his house with many, many other bats for creepy reasons unknown.

In any event, the unfortunate part of the tale is that this neck-biter had rabies and, even more unfortunately, the man refused to get the vaccination and is now all-the-way deceased, as opposed to on-and-off deceased, as Transylvanian bat bite victims sometimes are (See “Van Helsing,” and any Hammer Films from the 1950s for details).

It’s impossible to say why this gentleman refused the vaccine, except that this kind of thing is going around these days. Another important question, however, is why anyone would allow a colony of bats to set up housekeeping in his home in the first place?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if I came home to a house full of bats, past experience suggests that I would call in the 1st Armored Division.

I say that because probably still lodged in the dining room door of the old home place up the road from here is a bullet.

The shot heard ‘round the house was taken while my parents were away on vacation and I came home in the early hours of the morning after spending a fair amount of time boosting the stock price of Anheuser-Busch.

I opened the door, wobbled in and suddenly was set upon by this fluttering, dipping and diving aerial thing of undetermined origin and purpose.

Naturally, I reacted logically by running (sort of) to my room, putting on my old football helmet and grabbing my trusty .22 rifle. I crept back downstairs, spotted the creature hanging on the dining room door, set up my sniper station on the kitchen breadboard across the room and —BAP! Just once.

My parents returned the next evening.

“Anything interesting happen while we were gone?” my mother asked.

“No, not really,” I replied casually. “By the way, there is a little, barely noticeable, hardly-anything-really bullet hole in the dining room door ...”

While I appreciate the good job bats do for the environment, I remain steadfastly opposed to having them as houseguests.

Not only are they spreaders of the heebie-jeebies, they can bite you on the neck and, worst of all, get you into big trouble at home.

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