Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:

Case File No. 21-177

cat logo brown

AMBER LOVE 05-OCT-2020 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, and Year Three cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. Thank you for all your financial and social support! Oliver and Gus are looking forward to bringing you more fascinating discoveries and investigations into the chipmunk mafia, the blue jay gang, the neighborhood critters, and cryptid sightings.

This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.


Where We Left Off:

A surprising discovery was made in the junkyard. Gus found a snakeskin belonging to a small, growing Gorgon.


Mysterious Intent

Incident #1:

One morning I woke up The Cook’s frantic voice. She told me that during the night, Gus had thrown a mouse on her face while she was sleeping! I could believe it, but I was surprised that Gus didn’t bring any mouse to me. He usually does. When he catches them downstairs, he loves to bring them up to show off. This odd break from his routine left me curious.

Previous Bat Creature Interactions:

As it turned out, I had every right to be concerned about Gus failing to deliver his prey to me. It was not a mouse! The Grumpy Old Man and The Cook spotted a little brown bat inside the house. Yikes! We’ve had them a few times and it is not easy trying to get one to leave when two cats are interested in catching it.

Oliver sleeping
Ollie takes his sleep seriously.

 

Gus and I were ordered to get out so we exited to the balcony. I have no recollection where Oliver was put. Gus usually enjoys his time out there where he can overlook the land, chase bugs, or eat from the potted catnip. Since he knew there was something far more exciting inside the house, he was nothing but annoyed and vocalized it.

Amber and moon

From what I could hear of The Plan, the dining room’s hobbit door was going to be opened so that the bat could fly out to safety. I guess it wasn’t working immediately. The bat found all kinds of nooks to hide inside just in that one room. There’s also no way to close off the dining room from other rooms. I believe that’s when Oliver was sequestered to his own suite.

Gus and I stayed out of the action on this case. He was still mad about it. He knew there was an intruder. But this was a VIP! Gus didn’t understand and didn’t care. All he knew was that something was trespassing and looked like a combination of his favorite things: a rodent mixed with a bird. The little brown bats are far too precious to let Gus or Ollie play with them. Back in our case file Hellish Boy, Gus showed no interest in the baby bat-winged Jersey demon we found in the lilies. I was surprised he went after a bat inside the house other than he knew it did not belong there and he often prowls at night when he’s bored. As important as it was to remove this little bat, it had to be done with great care.

baby Oliver 2014
2014

 

The last one I remember being in here was easy in comparison. Oliver had found it on the fireplace grate back in 2014 which was when Oliver himself was possessed by demons. The Grumpy Old Man simply picked up the grate and walked outside with it. He had to convince that bat to let go and leave.

Lucifer with devil wings

What did this most recent bat visitor want? Why did it come in here? And why did Gus and Ollie react so aggressively to something they previously only examined visually?

Incident #2:

I thought I was merely getting up to make another trip to the bathroom (this is multiple times a night unless I’m knocked out with powerful drugs). However, The Cook came up and said, “Are you coming down to help?”

“Help with what?”

“I was screaming. There’s another bat.” At least I think that’s what she said. It was foggy.

Nonetheless, I searched for pajama pants and went downstairs to see what was going on in the living room around the fireplace. Gus was being an excellent hunter pacing at the grate in front of the fireplace. The bat was of the little brown bat species, but this was not so little. It could easily make itself tiny and fit into small spaces, but when it was moving around, it was a the largest of the ones I’ve had personal interactions with at this level (not counting the wicked exhibit that was at the Jersey Science Center many years ago).

Gus clearly wanted this critter. I didn’t see Oliver but heard The Cook’s color commentary that he was in the room somewhere observing cautiously. It’s not that Oliver did nothing. In fact, he’s the one that alerted The Cook to the trouble. There was noise of things rustling. Oliver went to inspect the fireplace and called for his human. She went over and that’s how it was discovered.

The Grumpy Old Man yelled at me to put my camera away as if another ten seconds in order to take photos was really that much of a detriment to this situation. His plan was to slide a blanket between the grate and the hearth of the fireplace while the bat was on the grate. I guess it would be called a screen. Whatever. This bat was exceptionally feisty! It was on the move and it wanted to get the hell out of that fireplace (no it wasn’t on). The bat moved in and out but eventually clung to the screen grate cage once again. We had to keep the blanket tight because it sure wasn’t enough of a barrier to contain a determined bat.

The Cook picked up Gus and relocated him to her quarters and closed the door. Ollie was called over to jump into his buggy and secured. The Cook opened the back door while the rest of us carefully and as quickly as possible walked through to the outdoors. There was commotion and confusion over which of the stupid amount of light switches was the right one to turn on. I felt the wobble of the grate and the Grumpy Old Man said it flew off. We had to hope the critter didn’t fly back in through the open door. We’re pretty certain it didn’t. It was a successful rescue and release operation.

Gus had no interest in going to bed after all that excitement! Eventually he ate and then slept in Ollie’s room in the tower. I ended up putting on some serene music and going back to sleep. I did not get out of bed until 7:30am! I had enough time to grab coffee and do our morning meditation. Gus still wouldn’t nap as he normally does when I’m at my desk. I did my priority tasks as quickly as I could (getting up the posts of weekly cases) before I got dressed for adventures. Ollie jumped in his buggy and joined us. It was a long adventure up the hill. Gus ran through weeds. Ollie played in his carriage and I brought him back home after an hour. Gus and I stayed out in the mobile command unit for another forty minutes. What a day!

Contagion Connection?

Obviously the most famous bat connections are to vampires, but they are vital to our ecosystem. They are maligned because of the potential for rabies. If you read Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers, you might be even more on edge when seeing a bat (note: Wanderers is being developed for television by QC Entertainment!).

Some people posited the theory that the pandemic of COVID-19 was caused by bats then passed to pangolins which were consumed by humans. Here’s what Treehugger.com has to say about that:

We don’t know for sure if this virus came from bats, but even if it did, it’s still worth resisting the urge to further demonize these wild animals, who benefit us far more than many people realize. While bats are a source of some dangerous viruses — including SARS-like coronaviruses and Ebola — there is nothing special about bats that makes their viruses more likely to infect humans, according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Bat World Sanctuary is one of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow, especially for their posts about Statler, a 33-year-old fruit bat who is geriatric and gets extra special care since he can’t fly any more. They feature a lot of fruit bats which are the large flying foxes normally associated with Hollywood vampires and Halloween. They’re gorgeous creatures, but not the sort that you have to worry about entering your home in the United States. They don’t drink blood. As their name suggests, they love fruit. I can watch videos of bats eating melons for an hour.

Statler is a 33 year old Indian flying fox. With his species only averaging 25 to 30 in captivity, Statler is quite remarkable. He has had a long life, and somewhere along the way lost an eye and broke a number of bones. Nowadays, he lives the retired life in a hammock with his roostmates. Statler has some arthritis which he receives a daily mild pain reliever for and also had discoloration on his wings from past injuries. – batworld.org

If you start poking around bat taxonomy, the fruit bats can get confusing due to several name changes and stuff like mitochondrial DNA testing. These flying foxes are part of genus Pteropus and there is a P. vampyrus! Alas, you will not spot one in your backyard unless you perhaps live in Malaysia not New Jersey. Not to mention that actual vampire bats are tiny and they don’t feed on humans. There are only three species of blood-sucking vampire bats. Our beloved little brown bats come from the genus Myotis or “mouse-eared bats.” There are over a hundred species in the genus.

Best of Gus Vampire Fangs Gallery:

The threat of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) is still a concern. As recent as June 2020 Montana detected the fungus in samples, but it doesn’t confirm that any bats there are affected at present time. The outbreak was traced back to 2006, but it aggressively spread east of the Mississippi River from 2007-2014.

Getting back to the point that there can be zoonotic disease among little brown bats, I honestly had zero fear of our intruder bringing COVID-19 or any of its new variations to us or to the cats. Rabies would still be my first concern and the boys are vaccinated.

The benefits of bats in the backyard considerably outweigh any notions of disease transmission. They eat all kinds of bugs and spiders especially mosquitoes which also transmit diseases. Bats are also good pollinators too. In short, they are awesome and beneficial and you should not let your pets play with them. Consider adding a bat house to your backyard. You can make one yourself (there are tutorials easily found online) or buy one like we did for around $30-40. We have two now but I believe only one house is occupied since The Grumpy Old Man’s recent bat count was only 11 and each house can fit about 25 bats.

Case Findings:

We can definitely bust the myth that the little brown bat was trying to entangle itself in The Cook’s hair. It was thrown by Gus. The bat was probably shocked and confused. One door was left open and since it was dark and everyone was half-sleeping, we think the bat got out safely. It has not been seen inside since then.

Case Status: Closed

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