Like a Bat Out of…

It was another gloriously balmy evening – surprisingly few insects and the temperature just right. Not so cold that we sought out a sweater and warm enough that the breeze reaching our hilltop terrace was still very welcome. Having acquired a gas canister and converted our European inlet for an US one, thanks to some help from Mummy and Daddy Castaway on their recent visit, we were barbecuing for the second time that week. We were thinking of snow-bound Northern hemisphere folks while finishing off a bottle of red wine after dinner. A tough life, but someone has to do it…

The PlayStation Junkie and Castaway had their backs to the patio door when the Handsome Dutchman, sitting opposite, suddenly exclaimed, “There’s a bat in the house!” Our first reaction was to dismiss this as another figment of his imagination. After all, he has previous for confusing a large moth with a bat. Castaway went to check the situation, however, and was appalled to find there was a bat flying round the dining room. Some fool had left the patio door open and with the lights on outside but off inside, a bat had clearly decided to set up a bat cave in our house. It was not clear which of us had been fool enough to leave the patio door open but it was clear that the PlayStation Junkie had been fool enough to leave his bedroom door open. We noticed this just at the point that the bat flew into his bedroom. We quickly shut that door and consulted the oracle that is Google on how to get a bat out of your house. As usual, the results were only semi-helpful. The suggestion was to open the windows, turn on the lights and, if necessary, guide the bat out with a brush. First, though, we had to consider rabies. We did not know if the bat had rabies, but many bats do and proximity to bats is the high risk factor in Trinidad. We are, however, not all equally vaccinated against rabies. Advice was that it was not necessary as there is a good supply of the vaccine on the island and so if bitten, you can easily get hold of the vaccine – it works after the event as well as upfront. Therefore, being already so full of vaccinations and knowing that this one is not very pleasant to be injected with, the Handsome Dutchman followed the advice and is not vaccinated. Castaway also followed the advice but has some residual rabies vaccine from a visit some years ago to Nigeria. I would still need some sort of top-up if bitten, but I am in a better state than the Handsome Dutchman. The PlayStation Junkie, whose vaccinations were done separately from ours, received the full vaccination and so is the most covered of us all. We briefly discussed whether, despite the fact that I had been drinking red wine, it was still best for me to stay out of possible biting territory, as I was the only one who could drive anyone to the hospital in the event of a bite. If I were bitten, no one could drive me. The Handsome Dutchman was clear that he was nevertheless not going into the room with the bat.

To minimise the chance of being bitten, we decided we should wear hats and cover up bare skin – obviously, we were all in shorts and t-shirts enjoying our December barbecue. As luck would not have it, we use the Playstation Junkie’s dressing room for storing the kind of clothing that you would want to put on in such an emergency situation and that was already bat territory. We were forced to drape a beach towel over our shoulders and put on our sun hats. I don’t expect the colleagues who gave me the hat as part of a leaving present ever expected it would be deployed on bat evacuation duty. The PlayStation Junkie and I each armed ourselves with a brush and entered his bedroom. First off, we had to get all the lights on and the patio doors from his bedroom to the terrace open. We soon realised that the bat was not in the bedroom but had already made its way into the long, narrow and dark dressing room. A fine bat cave, no doubt, but I did not really need a bat taking up residence in my cashmere jumpers. We opened the doors but getting the lights on was more challenging. We used the broom handle to poke at the light switch from a distance to get the main dressing room light on. However, most of the lighting is motion triggered – the lights go on and off as you walk up and down the dressing room – which is great unless there is a bat about to fly in your face towards an open window. One by one, the PlayStation Junkie bravely used his brush to activate the lights in each section of the dressing room. The bat was hanging upside down looking quite comfy in the very last section. Google had advised that you should try to help the bat find its way out by making noise outside the open window to aid its echo location. I then tried to use my brush to make noise only to get shouted at by the Handsome Dutchman who was watching through the other window who felt this was useless but also had no better suggestions. I continued banging my brush on the patio but the PlayStation Junkie said he thought the bat was asleep and taking no notice of my noise-making so we concluded it was indeed useless. Google next suggested that you use your brush to guide the bat in the direction of the window but our bat was not flying around – he was snoozing next to a gold lamé evening dress. We were wary of poking the bat in case that made him angry and we got bitten. I then spotted a semi-deflated beach volleyball in the PlayStation Junkie’s bedroom and we figured we could throw the ball underneath the bat and the vibrations might make him fly off. The PlayStation Junkie lay on his stomach so that the bat would fly over him rather than meet him at eye level and I stood primed to shut the doors if he flew out. The PlayStation Junkie threw the ball and, miraculously it worked. The bat flew straight out over our terrace and into the jungle below. Just another relaxed Sunday night in the Caribbean…I doubt anyone will be leaving the doors open anytime soon!

Proof of the bat hanging out with the evening wear


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3 thoughts on “Like a Bat Out of…

  1. “snoozing next to a gold lamé evening dress” LOL!!! 😀 !!!

    This story was not only hilarious I could sympathise having spent a year researching bat rabies!!! Keep away 😉


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