There are a few facts you need to know before I relate the story I am about to tell you. Knowing these things will help the story to make more sense and will perhaps keep you from judging me as an unfit house-keeper.
1. We have baseboard hot water heat in our home. There are these ugly heater covers throughout the house that are about an inch and a half from the floor. Dust bunnies and small toys tend to collect in these areas.
2. Sometimes my boys carefully place things under the baseboards in an effort to "surprise" me (like a rather realistic looking rubber snake that I found while sweeping this evening).
3. I do sweep fairly regularly.
4. I cut my boys hair. I usually do this in the dining room area. There are hard chairs and a hard floor so it makes for easy clean up. I often put off haircuts so long that the pile of clipped hair on the floor resembles a small animal.
5. When we moved into our house at the end of September I kept the windows open most of the time because it smelled like something had died.
Do you see where this is going?
As I was sweeping this evening, I saw what I thought was a hunk of hair that I had missed sweeping up from cutting my boys' hair a couple of days ago under the heater. I bent to pick it up because for some reason the broom wouldn't grab it. It was like it was stuck up in the heater a bit. When I pulled it out I realized that it was NOT hair or dust or a toy that my boys had put there to surprise me. It was a dead bat.
I freaked out. I screamed. I dropped the bat. I screamed again. I rushed to the sink to wash my hands with thoughts of rabies running through my head. All my boys and the neighbor kid came running to see what was the matter. I called my husband and told him that he had to come home right now because there was no way I was going to touch that thing again. He was excited. He told me that this was the best thing that had happened to him all day (he is a biology/animal physiology professor at the local university).
I washed my hands again and called my dad.
I am not typically a screaming person (except for spiders--I hate spiders). Snakes, lizards, frogs, even mice? No big deal. But a dead bat? In my house!?
On the one hand bats are great because they eat mosquitoes. On the other hand bats are kind of like mice that fly AND have rabies. And suck your blood and turn you into a vampire. Besides that, it was just a shock since I was expecting something entirely different than a dead animal--an animal that definitely belongs outside. You might scream too.
I gave the bat a wide berth and waited for my husband to get home before I would look at it closer. I mean, what if it wasn't really dead but was just stunned from the cold or maybe unconscious? That could happen, right? What if it started flying around my house trying to suck my blood and give me rabies? I was torn between being grossed out and worried about disease and being fascinated and wanting to check it out. I blame the former on my mother and the latter on my dad.
When David got home, he donned some disposable gloves and picked it up to examine it closer. It quickly became evident that this little guy bit the dust quite awhile ago. Sadly his wings have already decomposed so we couldn't pull them out to examine them. The best we can figure, the little bat corpse had been stuck up in the heater cover and just finally became desiccated enough that it partially dropped out (and was mistaken for a chunk of hair by yours truly).
We triple bagged it so that my husband can take it to work and I made him promise that he would actually take it and that it won't be hanging out (<---see what I did there?) in our freezer for the next six months. We had a brief discussion about white nose syndrome in little brown bats, because that's how we roll at our house. And then we all washed our hands again.
And I disinfected the dining room floor.