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A Wild Animal is Lurking in the… Golf Bag?

We couldn’t possibly have another bat, could we?  (Bat Story 1 and Bat Story 2)  My latest wildlife story takes place out of the house–THANKFULLY–and in the garage.  How many of you leave your garage doors open from time to time?  We do, ALOT!  However, that may be changing…  One evening my husband comes in and asks me to come out to the garage, and I think–UH-OH–What wildlife problem do we have now?  We go to the garage and there is clearly some kind of animal… making some very upset animal sounds.  But where is it coming from?  We have a general direction but can’t pinpoint exactly where.  At this point, we think it’s a squirrel (a very angry squirrel) and we’re having visions of it jumping out of the rafters and attacking us.  I don’t know if any of you have ever seen an angry squirrel–but it is not cute or cuddly in any way!

As we continue listening to the sounds, we realize they seem to be coming from inside the golf bag.  Obviously, not playing enough.  So, we gently poke the golf bag to be sure and the sounds get even angrier.  OK, definitely coming from inside the golf bag.  Now what?  If we pick it up, whatever is in there might come crawling out and attack our head so how do we get the bag outside and get the animal out?  We try extending several pieces of wood through the strap but all that does is make the bag lopsided and hard to control.  Finally, we go for broke.  My husband grabs the bag and lays it on the ground outside.  We wait.  Nothing crawls out.  So we gently shake the bottom of the bag and the clubs start to fall out.  We back up and we wait.  Still nothing.  We shake it again until nothing is left in the bag except whatever animal we are seeking.  We back up and we wait.  Finally this little tiny face appears in one of the squares of the golf bag “grid.”  The grid section keeps your clubs separated but actually looks like prison bars for this little ….what is it?  We can’t be sure…the face is so tiny…but there it is–a little MASK around the eyes.  It’s a baby RACOON!  What the heck?   Better question, where is the Mama Racoon?  We suddenly start looking into the trees above us expecting her to attack as her baby is not very happy and we are the nearest targets.  But how did this raccoon end up in the golf bag and now what do we do with it?  Of course, it’s another rabies carrier, but good news–We’ve all had our shots!!  The baby is probably not more than 4 in long and can barely stand up either from exhaustion or just being so young.  Well, we call animal control (who is now on speed dial) and they say leave it there.  The Mom will “scent” the baby and come find it.  And that’s what we did.  The racoon was gone the next morning and we haven’t seen them again.  Animal control said there’s no way it could have gotten in the bag on it’s own; it either fell while the mother was carrying it or they were living in our garage somewhere.  We haven’t seen them again (yet) and we’ve left the radio on to discourage them from being there– but for now, we are just keeping our fingers crossed that we are done with wildlife for awhile!


When the Bat Comes Back!

For all of you who missed the first part of this story, here it is, .   So, our bat is gone and things have returned to normal.  Wrong!  For the next several nights, my husband sleeps in my daughter’s room while she sleeps with me, as we are trying to help her get past the trauma of this bat.  We have been trying to convince her it was just a fluke and it must have flown in while we had the front door open late at night,  but we were truly baffled as to how it got in.  2 nights later, my husband wakes me up around midnight–UH-OH I think, couldn’t be, could it?  Oh, but it was!  He heard a sound in the children’s bathroom and went to investigate and there it was, another bat flying around in the bathroom.  He shuts the door and comes to get me.  So, we know what to do, we’re experts now!   We call Animal Control and they come out within 30 minutes–come in with their nets and capture the bat in a matter of seconds.  The new wrinkle in this story is they don’t need to test it.  They said we were already being treated, so there was no need to kill the bat and test for rabies.  OK, I get it–but WOW, couldn’t we have done this the first time and not had to get all the shots?  So, we start discussing with Animal Control how these bats might be getting in.  We finally figure out that the bat was prying up the flap on the bathroom exhaust vent, crawling through the vent and squeezing into the house through the bathroom exhaust fan.  So, the next day–we screened up every possible opening, vent, pipe, you name it–that would allow entrance into our home!  So far, so good!  It took months to get my daughter back into her own room on a consistent basis and we all hope we NEVER have to see another bat again!  It’s been funny though, to hear stories from other people.  We had one person tell us they had a bat in the house for 3 days and couldn’t find it.  They would hear the swooshing of the wings, chase it around but it would disappear before animal control could catch it.  The worst part is it left bat guano all over the house!  Another person said they thought the swooshing they kept hearing was a bird until they found their bat hanging from a ceiling light when they walked downstairs in the morning.  CRAZY!  Take the poll and see how many people have had a similar experience!  Also, please  feel free to share your bat story in the comments section! “Like” my facebook page to hear more!  At Home in Fairfax VA


What (NOT) to do if you have a bat in the house!

Ever heard the expression “bats in the belfry?”  Well, I can honestly say that if you have a bat in your home, it gives new meaning to this phrase!  Let me start at the beginning.  5:30 AM and my daughter is screaming her head off.  I go running to her room to find her entombed under her bedding with no openings at all and her lights blazing.  She’s screaming–“Get it out!, Get it out!”  I’m looking around trying to figure out what she’s talking about, because I don’t see anything.  Is she having a nightmare? What’s going on here?  I’m calling her name, trying to pry her covers off and she won’t budge, won’t talk to me, just keeps screaming.  But now she’s added, “There’s a bat in my room!”  So, I walk over and shut the door (just in case) and I continue to look around–nope, still don’t see anything.  I finally pry her covers off and she is in tears, clearly frightened and insists that there is a bat in the room.  By now, my husband has joined me and we continue to search the room; still no sign of a bat.  We think she must be dreaming, we’ve never even seen bats OUTSIDE the house.  So, we take her to our room and close the door for the night.

The next day, we are determined to show her there is no bat, so we go search the room again.  My husband shakes her drapes and what do you know– a bat falls to the floor in kind of a sleeping state.  Well, clearly my daughter is not crazy.  So here is where my story begins– with what NOT to do when you find a bat in your house.  Don’t do what we did.  We figured OK, no harm done–we’ll just pick the bat up with some grill tongs and put him in a bag to release outside.  Why not?  He didn’t bite anyone.    Which is exactly what we did.  He barely moved the entire time and we took him outside, sat down the bag and watched him crawl out and fly away.  Only then, did I suggest we look it up on the computer.  Well, guess what the first thing I read said? DON’T RELEASE THE BAT!  OOPS, so now what?  Apparently when you have a bat in your home while you are sleeping, everyone is considered exposed.  Apparently, a bat can bite you while you are sleeping and you may not even know it or see any evidence of it.  Apparently, bats are big carriers of rabies and it can be transported in their saliva.  And apparently, we had just made a VERY BIG MISTAKE!   So, now I have to take my daughter to the pediatrician–who, by the way, acts like we are contagious with the plague.  She says the ENTIRE family, including the dog, now need our rabies shots.  But Dr’s offices don’t do these, you have to go to the ER.  So, our family of four now has to go to the ER, where we are otherwise known as “the bat family” and we have to get the first round in our series of rabies shots.  How many do you need?  Well, that depends on your size and weight.  My husband had the most and on that very first day had 7 shots–in the legs, in the rear, in the arms, etc.., the rest of us had between 5 and 6–not pleasant at all.  And this was just round 1.  We would now need to come back each week for 4 weeks and get more.  Less than the first time, but still some each week. And we had to report to the ER each time, FUN!  Then let’s talk about costs–our insurance covered 80% but we still owed over $3000 out of pocket.  All because we tried to be kind to nature and released the bat.  What should we have done?  Kept the bat contained, called animal control and had the bat tested for rabies.  If the bat was negative for rabies, all of this could have been avoided.   Luckily, our dog had her rabies vaccine so only needed a booster.  The silver lining in all this? Now we are all protected for life; we will only need a booster should we get exposed to rabies sometime in our future.  But boy did I learn a valuable lesson.  And as I told this story to friends, I was amazed at how many people had had similar situations that had just never come up in conversation, which is why I decided to blog.  Spread the word, tell all your friends, DON’T RELEASE THE BAT! Contact animal control.

Stay tuned for…when the bat comes back!  Like my blog at

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