A few years ago, we had bats in our house – for more of the backstory, please refer to “The Plague of the Bats – Part 1.” After knowing there were bats in the house, more specifically the attic, for a few days and no more bats getting into the actual living space, the two girls and I returned home from my parents’ house. (I had refused to sleep in the house for three nights or to allow my children to sleep there either.) My super-courageous husband had stayed at the house the whole time – he did not share my raging dislike for the bats.
That afternoon, my husband went up into the attic to see if the bats were still there (we had employed a contractor to open up a place in the roof for a few days in hopes that most of the bats would leave). While still up there, and confirming that there were still a fair number of bats still there, my husband tried to coax me to the attic to see the bats. “C’mon. They are all sleeping. You really should see this. How often do you see bats up close? Don’t be afraid. They are all sleeping.” A string of such comments went on for about 20 minutes. At first I adamantly refused, but …… finally, my curiosity got the better of me.
The entrance to the attic is a pull-down ladder. I told my husband that I would go up the ladder, but only to the point of my head being at floor level of the attic and no further. Both girls (ages 5 and 7) were at home – Bella (5) was in her bedroom upstairs and Aubrie(7) was downstairs in the family room. Neither of them was interested in seeing the bats.
I got my head level with the attic floor and looked around to see bats hanging from the walls and ceiling. Truly horrifying to think this is MY HOUSE – not some TV show or movie! I stay for a few seconds and told my husband that I was good and had seen enough. I turn around on the ladder/stairs to go down, and as I do I see a sleeping bat right in front of my face, hanging asleep where the closure to the ladder space was. My eyes were probably the widest they have ever been in my life, with a bat around 10 inches from my face.
I lost track of what happened next – don’t know if I blacked out or have blocked it from my memory. Somehow, I made it down the ladder – could have fallen – could have jumped – I have no idea. As I get to the floor, the bat flies out of the attic behind me!!! I started screaming and the bat is flying after me (I think it may have been chasing me!)! I don’t know if at that point I was screaming words or just guttural, neanderthal sounds. Whatever sound I was making, my oldest daughter got the point that a bat was flying in the house – again! I have never before or since seen this child move this quickly! She ran/rocketed out the front door of the house and stayed on the front lawn for the next hour.
Bella, our 5 year old daughter, ran out of her bedroom in time to see the bat flying out of the attic space. As she got to me, we both froze and went down on all fours on the floor screaming!! We were in the upstairs hallway that is a catwalk, overlooking the two-story family room. The bat was flying in a large circular pattern that went around the ceiling fan of the family room and over the balcony/catwalk where we were crouched down yelling for our lives. Of course the ceiling fan was ON!!! All I could think was the bat was going to fly into the ceiling fan and it would hit it and send the bat hurling directly at us! We couldn’t stand up because the bat was flying about waist high over us.
Then things got even better! Another bat must have been awaken by all the commotion and it too flew down from the attic space and began circling the family room/balcony. My husband was by that time standing in the upstairs hallway and I told him to close the attic before MORE bats flew down!!
I have always heard that in times of extreme stress, the “flight” or “fight” response kicks in. Aubrie definitely demonstrated the “flight” response and got out of there! For some reason, neither of these responses came to me. I demonstrated the “freeze and scream” response, which I don’t think would be very useful for survival. Maybe that’s why this one is not even mentioned as an adrenaline response – not much evolutionary use and the organisms that demonstrate this are probably the ones that don’t live to see another sunrise. I learned something about myself though – freeze and scream – I guess that’s the type of person I am. : )
My husband finally convinced Bella and myself to soldier-style belly crawl down the hallway and down the stairs. We then quickly exited outside the house. How I wish we could have had a camera that filmed this whole episode!!!
After this, we had no more flying bats in the house. About three weeks later, my oldest daughter did find a dead bat beside a chair in the family room. : ) Its a really cool accessory to the family room.
For staying cool under pressure, my husband is my favorite today.
Aubrie 1/-3 Bell 3/-1 Tate 5/-6 Jack 1/-1 Husband 2/-1 Father 1/0