Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Bat Chronicles

There's this tendency in the West to make everything cute. Cuddly. Approachable, and oh so lovable.

Have you ever seen the book Stellaluna? It's the story of this adorable little bat that gets knocked out of a tree into a birds' nest as a baby, and tries her best to be accepted as a proper bird in her new home.  Admittedly, one scene is a bit confusing as the illustrator attempts to portray sonar visually with a light-beam coming from Stella's eyes, but otherwise it is a precious, bubble-wrapped safe method of introducing young, impressionable children to the wonderful, intriguing, and much-to-be-explored world of bats.
Whoever wrote the book must either have never seen a real bat, or been seriously inventive in their lovable cuteness factors. Because bats? They aren't cute.

Pictures from,, and

Take our house. The entire attic is filled with the constantly squeaking, thumping, dirty little creatures. And as the ceilings in our rooms are made of wooden slats with openings to the attic, the bats generously share their guano leftovers with us on a daily basis, too. On the floor. On top of my mosquito net, and filtering down to my bed. And into any unattended glasses. (It's always wise to check your glass before consumption...)
a view of my mosquito net and floors on a regular basis
Our guard eagerly volunteered to go up and take care of the problem. Armed with a stick, a wire to encourage the bats out of corners, and a scoop, he came back down covered in sweat and dust with 35 bats and 2 hugely heavy containers of guano in tow. (I wondered if we should also have armed him with rabies shots, but he didn't seem to think there was a need.)
The end result of our guard's efforts.  I'd say no bats were harmed in the making of these pictures, but, well, I'd be lying.
That evening, as we heard Stellaluna's cousins making themselves comfy in the attic, we reassured ourselves that at least there were less guano piles above our heads waiting to fall.

More recently, the beautifully-crafted, mice-like creatures have found ways from their otherwise preferred upstairs abode into our living quarters. My roommate, having lived in Musomaland for longer, is more experienced and adept at such maneuvers. The other night I came home to see this:

Ronit got it outside still alive.  We'll just assume it lived a long and happy life, despite two very curious hungry dogs chasing after it...

Last night, though, made me realize just how ill-adept I might be for life in the Land of Tanz. I've survived tarantulas, flying jumping spiders, massive rats, and disgusting cockroaches, but this... this just might be my breaking point.

I stepped into the shower and heard a familiar squeaking sound, more than familiarly close. Turning, I looked up at the doorway I had just passed under and... there it was. I wish I could say it looked like cute little Stellaluna. But no. It's brown curled-up hunched-over disgustingness sat on the trim above the door that I had just walked through. I won't pretend I didn't freak. I'd seen them before lifeless, but never this close... and never turning to get a better look at the two-legged, no-winged creature that had just entered it's newly-claimed domain.

Since I was alone late at night by myself, I opted for the "close-the-door-put-a-towel-over-the-crack-and-take-a-bucket-shower-instead" tactic. And as I lay in bed contemplating the dilemma, I was more inclined to swallow my pride the next day and ask a guy to come help me than trying to get rid of this disgusting lovable creation of God all by myself.

The next morning I called a friend, who bravely entered the battle zone with a mosquito racket.  After a thorough search our little winged friend was proclaimed missing.  The good news: I could now take a shower.  The bad news: Who knows where it might pop up next?  As I started preparing for said shower, I took yet another glance at the drain, and found... this.

The scene quickly turned to this:

After another call to my friend, I was finally able to enjoy a shower in my own home.  


In light of recent developments, I propose a truce. I'll stop complaining about the guano-rain, and the bats promise never to show their faces in my quarters again. It seems like a win-win situation.

Either that, or these little rascals seriously need to start helping with rent...

1 comment:

  1. Oh Crystal. Soldier on dear friend. No, bats are not cute and Stellaluna is a precious lie. Love you!