Hangers On Beware: Life Gets a Little Batty

By Maggie Beamguard

Bats may use sonar to get around, but they don’t fly completely under the radar. 

We didn’t notice our uninvited guests swooping around our yard at first. What we did notice in the late spring was their guano on our back porch walkway.

The fanged critters set up house in our gables. I shiver just writing that last sentence.

Bats! Bats! Bats! I picture them weaseling into nooks and crannies, hanging by their feet in hidden spaces, flapping their wings and grotesquely swaying enmasse. It’s enough to make me rabid.

During a frantic internet search, I discovered even though they look like evil angels of darkness, the mammals have enough redeeming qualities to ensure special protections. We would have to live with them until August to have a licensed wildlife control agent remove them.

The mating season for the winged vipers occurs between May 1 and July 31. So to protect the pups, the state of North Carolina would not allow us to issue an eviction notice. 

For the past few months, we’ve been side-stepping the walkway, politely tolerating our messy tenants. At least they are doing us the favor of eating their body weight in insects every day. 

It helps me to visualize the bat babies we are protecting. They seem cute in a romantic, gothcore kind of way. 

The poet Shel Silversteen even wrote a sweet poem about them in A Light in the Attic, titled “Batty.”

The baby bat

Screamed out in fright,

“Turn on the dark,

I’m afraid of the light.”

So I made peace with the bat nursery we hosted this summer, knowing those little creatures roosting in our eves will go on to play an important part in the ecosystem.

But when Aug. 1 rolled around, once the adult bats finished with their monkey business, we didn’t hesitate to call some bat men to remove the little bloodsuckers.

The experts say our house is now sealed against future invasions, but they are crafty and known to wiggle into openings as small as a finger. 

With our bat colony dispersed, I suppose I’ll come up with some other halloween decorations. 

I do think this whole experience has made me a little batty. Our former occupants have given me some costume inspiration. I’ll be perfecting my accent for when I wear it on Oct. 31. Beware all! “I vant to suck your blood!”

Contact Maggie Beamguard at maggie@thepilot.com.