Going Batty

After yesterday’s chilly overcast weather, this morning’s sunshine made me want to spend time in my backyard. I paused at the backdoor to call out to my daughter Tammie, who was working in my office, “Do you want to take your break outside?”

While awaiting Tammie’s answer, my glance fell on a small splash of blood on the wall next to the door. Surprised, I thought, “Where in the world did that come from?” Then I spotted another small splash on the door, on the opposite wall, on the floor. There was even a minuscule splash on the ceiling!

Tammie found me washing the spots away with a washcloth. Looking perplexed she questioned, “Where did the blood come from?”

My answer sounded as troubled as I felt, “I wish someone could explain what happened.” As I went to dispose of the washcloth, I happened to look down and spotted a dead wood tick on the entryway floor. It looked as though it had been fully engorged when killed. “That’s weird”, I commented, “Is it possible that one of the cats had a tick on them and scratched at it hard enough to dislodge it and for the blood in it to splash around?” All afternoon that day, every time I went into the entryway, I found more and more small blood splashes.

The next morning Tammie was working remotely from my office again when she anxiously called out, “Mom, there’s a bat in the room and it’s clinging to the window screen!”

I’ve lived in my house since 1979 and often have bats come visit. Calmly taking a thick cleaning rag, I used it like an oven mitt to take the furry brown bat off the screen. It chittered at me with a wide-open mouth filled with sharp teeth. Walking out on the back deck, I tossed it into the air, expecting it to fly away like scores of others had through the years.

This bat fluttered and fell helplessly into the grassy lawn. Since bats need to be on an elevated perch to take off, I went and picked the bat up again and placed it back on the deck. Defensively, it flipped onto its back and made itself look big and fierce by spreading its wings and tail. Stepping closer, Tammie took a picture of it. She pointed out, “There seems to be something wrong with the left wing.”

I worried, “Did I hold it too tightly? It’s left shoulder joint looks bruised.”

Enlarging the picture that she’d taken, Tammie exclaimed, “There’s a hole in its right wing! Let me call a wildlife recovery service to see what to do.”

No one answered. It was Memorial Monday. I glanced out the back door and observed, “The bat has flipped over onto its belly.” When I looked half an hour later, it was gone. I searched the deck and the ground around it, but the bat had disappeared.

Back in the office to do some work, I happened to notice a small splash of blood on the wall. Then I found small splashes of blood on every surface of the room. In a lowered voice I told Tammie, “This is like a bloody nightmare! Where did all of this blood come from?”

A big splotch of blood on a tagboard leaning against the wall and smeared spots nearby suddenly made me realize what had happened.

Turning to my daughter I inquired, “Do you know what I think? I think our little bat friend came in through the chimney observation window in the basement. One of the cats caught and injured it. Escaping, the bat flew around the entryway splashing bits of blood. Crawling through the decorative transom over the office door, it fluttered and flopped around in the office, spreading more blood before latching onto the window screen.”

Horrified, Tammie gasped, “Oh, the poor thing! What do you think happened to it outside?”

Grimacing, I admitted, “I feel sorry for it, too. It was hungry and thirsty. Then it suffered blood loss. I’m hoping after resting on the deck it gained enough strength to eat, drink and return to a safe place to roost.”

 

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