A Real Life Bat Girl

Connie McKinney By Connie McKinney, 14th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>True Stories

What's it like to have a close encounter with a bat followed by rabies treatment? I found out the hard way a few summers ago when a bat flew into my bedroom. Here's my story and how I got the nickname: Bat Girl.

Late Night Visitor

A scratching noise woke me up during a hot summer night a few years ago. What kind of creature would be scratching at this hour, I wondered as I rolled over to see what was going on. The culprit was a brown bat, who clawed and butted against the window screen with its head in a vain attempt to escape.
My reaction was typical for any young woman who found herself alone with a bat late at night: I screamed. Loudly. The frightened bat then fled my bedroom and flew into the kitchen, where it began circling the light fixture. Next, it headed for my living room.
I called the police but they said they couldn't help me. They gave me the phone number of a wildlife expert. No one picked up when I called.
Luckily, the bat returned to my bedroom. I slammed the door with the hopes that it would escape. Then I slept on the living room couch for the rest of the night.

The Shots

The next day, I called our local health department for advice. They told me that if you're absolutely sure the bat has had no contact with a human or an animal, then it's OK to let the bat go. However, if you wake up and see a bat in your bedroom just like I did, then you have to get a rabies vaccination. This is a precautionary measure just in case the bat scratched or bit you while you were asleep. Sometimes, the bite or scratch is so small that people don't even realize they have one. In my case, I still don't know if I was bitten or not. I didn't argue the point and instead headed for the hospital emergency room.
The good news is the shots aren't as bad as people think they are. On the first day, you get five of them. For the next month, I visited the emergency room once a week to get a single shot each time. I also got a tetanus shot. The shots weren't too bad - just a quick pinch, and it was over.
Health insurance should cover the cost of the shots. If not, many states, including mine, will pay the approximately $1,000 cost for you. So meeting the bat didn't break my budget.

Lesson Learned

There were a lot of things I did wrong when I met my late night visitor. This is what I should have done: turn on the light. Close all doors and windows to the bedroom. Use a broom to knock the bat down. Grab some gloves and a coffee can or other container to trap the bat. Tape the container shut and put it into a cooler or refrigerator. Just don't put it near food. Then, take it to your local health department which will send it out for rabies testing.
Another precaution is to keep your doors and windows closed at all times - even during the hot summer months. Check for cracks in your walls, windows and roof. In my case, I think the bat slipped in through a tiny crack between the screen and the window sill. Even the smallest crack can let a bat into your house. Bats can slip through an opening the size of a pencil.

New Nickname

Of course, I had to tell my boss why I needed to leave work and get rabies shots at the emergency room. The story spread quickly. At first, people were sympathetic. Then, as we all realized I would be OK once I had my shots, the situation turned lighter. Family, friends and co-workers began teasing me and calling me: "Bat Girl."
Since then, I have not seen any more bats in my bedroom. But I remain vigilant. I may yet have more bat encounters. After all, they don't call me Bat Girl for nothing.


Bats, Rabies, Rabies In Humans

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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author avatar Retired
17th May 2013 (#)

hahahaha. Humourous story indeed. Bats are cool. I had a bat living in my entryway to my house for a few weeks. I named him Pepe. I would come home and say "Hello Pepe" and he would hiss. We were best friends. He left one day and never came back. So sad.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
17th May 2013 (#)

That is cute. Pepe sounds like he was a good pet.

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