Saturday, November 17, 2007

What I Learned about Bats

I feel like I’m back in grade school writing a paper: “What I learned about Bats”. As with any crises there is always The Aftermath, where one regroups, reflects, and resolves on a plan of action to smother any reoccurrence of said crises: the three R’s of crises management, as it were.

Because I do not generally possess large amounts of free time, I spent only a few minutes the morning following our escapade with the bat (see “Things that go BUMP in the night”) to look up some basic facts about these mammals.

Here is what I learned:

· Bats are not rodents, but are more closely associated with the shrew. Shrews, unlike rodents, have five toes instead of four.
· Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight.
· Their fangs are so small and sharp that it can be difficult to locate a bite even when one is known to have occurred.
· Signs of rabies in a bat may include crawling along the ground or aggressiveness. Infected persons may not show signs of rabies for upwards of one month or, in rare cases, as long as one year.
· Bat droppings (or guano) can play host to a fungus which, when the spores are inhaled, can cause a lung infection called Histoplasmosis in humans.
· A bat needs only an area about one-half of an inch high to squeeze into your child’s bedroom.

To justify myself in not worrying about the interloper I called the pediatrician’s office. The nurse laughed so heartily at me while I imparted to him of the basic details of the previous night that he started to cough. Actually, I think he may have had a cold and that probably contributed more to the coughing than the laughter. At any rate, I felt myself absolved to continue in my worry-free state of mind in reference to the bat.

The Internet is a great fountain of knowledge when it comes to identifying animal feces. After reviewing a few pictures, I made a quick circuit of the house and even ventured into the attic to look for droppings. I believe I am becoming somewhat of an expert on recognizing all sorts of creature waste (see “In other news…”). I shall list that among my other life accomplishments.

No comments: