Last night, it was approaching 11pm. I was nearly sound asleep, as were Forest Puppy and Homeschooled Farm Girl. As I lost consciousness in the master bedroom, Mrs Yeoman Farmer was in the boys' room getting Big Brother tucked in.
Suddenly, the master bedroom door flew open. MYF announced, "We have a bat in the house!"
Groggily, I sat up and tried to assess the situation. "Huh?" I groaned.
"A bat," she repeated. "In the boys' room! I saw it come in!"
I groaned again, dragged myself out of bed (having gotten just enough sleep to ensure I'd be wide awake for a long time), and dressed. Remembering a story MYF told me once from her childhood, I asked if we had any tennis rackets; Big Brother assured me that we did, and told me exactly where I could find them in the barn.
The tennis racket idea is simple: you can't hit a flying bat with a broom, because the bat will sense that large object and change directions at the last minute. But a tennis racket is entirely different: the bat's radar (or sonar, or whatever) goes right through...so he continues on course and dies without ever knowing what Grand Slammed him.
Note that I have nothing against bats. We had them in Illinois, and I've seen them flying around inside our barn in Michigan. They'll reportedly eat hundreds of pounds of mosquitoes in a night, and after watching them circling our security light in Illinois I believe it. And I'm not advocating breaking any local laws protecting bats. I'm just saying that when there's a rodent in my house that's possibly carrying rabies...I'm getting my tennis racket first and asking questions, um, never.
MYF showed me where she first spotted the bat; apparently, it managed to squeeze in through a closed window, and plopped on the floor. Of course, by now there was no sign of it anywhere in the room. Dressed in gloves and armed with two tennis rackets, I stood guard as MYF moved Forest Puppy to our bed and then began searching the room. Naturally, we didn't turn up any trace of the bat no matter how hard we looked. The dang things can squeeze into any little place, and for all we knew it was inside the baseboards or under a dresser.
We had Big Brother sleep on an empty bunk in his sister's room, and we sealed off the boys' room. In retrospect, under ideal conditions, we should have left windows open all night to let the bat out --- but my primary concern was not allowing more bats in. And, as it turns out, it was better the windows remained shut: we got quite a bit of rain overnight, and the carpet would've been soaked.
This morning, there was still no sign of the little critter. I checked all around the eves outside the window in question, but couldn't find traces of a bat colony he might have strayed from. In the meantime, the boys' room remains shut tight. After nightfall, we'll see if the bat emerges and starts looking for a way out. If not, we'll repeat last night's sleeping arrangements until we're sure he's either gone or has likely starved to death.