Rochester Day 12: Rabies Scare

The only thing worse than waking up with a bat in your bedroom is the later, unwavering tension of possible rabies contraction. You know what I mean?

It was five in the morning, and I awoke to the sound of mouse-like pitter-patter and whimpering. In a daze, I grabbed my phone for the flashlight-app and shined it towards the noise. I saw face, teeth, and wings.

Dear Lord, not… I repeat, NOT a mouse.

We’ve been sleeping on an air mattress; yes, terrible for back-support, but great if you need to get your wife out of bed in a hurry; just do a quick bounce-push-1-2 and she’s gone.

The very second—and I mean second—I saw those evil, beady little eyes, and its encroaching, ominous, expanding-devil-wingspan, I bounced and pushed. Megan was off the bed on the floor, waking up—mid flight—to the sound of me yelling “RUNNNN!”

Wide-awake, Megan pulled a Jackie Chan, getting to her feet in lightning speed. We ran out of the room, both completely bewildered, and slammed the door behind us. Expecting claws to shoot through the frame like Jack’s axe in The Shining, I stared at the door in nauseated anticipation.

“What? What was it?” Megan asked, breathing heavy and terrified.

Swallowing, trying to remember basic speech and language patterns, fighting off the fog of little sleep and sheer panic, I found a word that finally made sense: “… Bat.”

Bat Crazy

The creature was after us. That’s for certain.

You could argue the bat flew into our apartment on accident, I guess. The kitchen window was left open after cooking dinner, and the kitchen window, you see, is the only window without a screen. Out for blood though, makes more sense.

Thirty minutes passed and we remained in the living room—frightened, laughing, pacing. We soon realized two things:

  1. We had no internet, and our phones were left behind in the bat-cave.
  2. Leaving our bed as we did, in a hurry in the middle of the night, meant we weren’t wearing nearly enough clothes to go outside or seek any assistance.

I’d love to tell you that I was the hero in this situation, the man. I really would. But my hand on the door-handle, hand off the door-handle masculinity got us no where; Megan beat the stereotype and went in first, snagging a pair of pants and her phone. Best yet, she escaped the man-eating death-clutch of the rabid, Hell-flying mouse and made it back in one piece.

GuaNO, Thank You

Meet Hector. Hector is an employee of our landlords and is originally from Puerto Rico; he grew up all around bats. Our landlord was as afraid as we were (“I just don’t do bats…”), so he sent Hector in to save the day.

Hector is the man.

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Possible Last Words

Hector and our landlord, Brian, took the bat to the Monroe County Health Center. From there the MCHC flies it to Albany where it gets tested. The bad news for us is that we slept with a bat. This means, statistically speaking, our possibility of contracting rabies is much higher. If the bat comes back positive, we’ll have to assume we are as well. I’ll keep you posted.

This all happened yesterday, and sometime today or tomorrow we’ll find out whether or not we have rabies.

That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Oh the adventure, so far, New York State has been—keeping me on my toes and running out the door.

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Your response? Any experience? I’d love to hear some good bat stories. 

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16 comments

    1. Great question! You can be either scratched or bit to contract. Unfortunately for us, we were sleeping while the bat was in the room. We simply don’t know if anything happened; bit and scratch marks (according to many websites I’ve read) can be small and undetected.

  1. Kevin, I know I told you that this move would be an adventure…but bats in your bedroom, well that’s taking it a bit too far don’t you think? Goodness gracious as my Mother would have said – this however, may ease your tension a bit, according to the Humane Society less than one-half of one percent of all bats in North America carries rabies. And Western NY if I remember was pretty on top of the rabies thing. Still it must have been harrowing to wake up to that in the middle of the night. And it must be unsettling to say the least to have a wait for the results. Thank goodness for Hector. And might I virtually “High Five” Megan for being such a brave girl!!! I had an encounter with a bat when I was in Estes Park and I’m sad to say I was the only person who kept a level head. One of my co-workers went around screaming the myth that they’ll nest in your hair…ridiculous! I had the little guy step on a pencil and I moved him to a safer (for him) location outdoors. I thought he was very sweet.

    I’m praying all will be OK with you two – keep us in the loop. Oh, and take a break and rest easy for a few days OK – no more of these stressful adventures. Mary 🙂

    P.S.: I was dealing with coyotes at 4am today. They were so close to the house I was fearful for my cats (feral) – so I went out, flashlight in hand and then drove my car up and down the long driveway shining the flashlight into the woods – partly to let my cats know I was there and see if they would follow me back to the house and partly to see if I could upset any plans the coyotes had of moving in any closer. It seems to have worked I didn’t hear them killing anything. And if you’ve ever heard coyotes killing an animal there is no mistaking the sound.

    1. Mary, a pencil!!? You are the brave one. That is awesome. I gave Megan your “High five” for you. Also, thanks for the statistic on bats; we’re still waiting on a call from the health center, but I have a feeling we’re going to be okay.

      Best of luck with the coyotes. I didn’t even think about that when you told me you were moving out there. Keep a good eye out! I wonder if there’s anything you could do to keep them away?

  2. Rabies….now THAT will “put some hair on your chest”! Hahaha. Three recent stories involving some sort of suffering on your part and I am enjoying you writing about it. Is that a bit sadistic of me? Please know I wish you and your bride all the best and I hope that you do not have rabies. Hang in there!

  3. haha love it. Such a great story. My only bat story involves walking through a Bat Cave in Nepal. It was the home to hundreds of bats which we saw as we shone torches above our heads. Have to admit, I never really thought of them being dangerous, though I can imagine I wouldn’t be stoked to have one in my room!

  4. I’ll be praying the rabies-test comes back negative.

    I don’t have a bat story, but once when I was away from home a kamikaze skunk invaded our chicken coop, chased the goats in our pasture and bit our sheep. My wife called the church deacon who came over with his shotgun. Lining up the skunk in his headlights, he took aim and the skunk actually charged him before catching a bullet between the eyes.

    They sent him away for testing (the skunk, not the deacon) and he came back positive. We had to butcher the sheep before they contracted rabies. I was surprised when they assured us the meat was safe to eat. It was delicious.

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