Don't give me that look.
April 20, 2017 12:39 AM   Subscribe

Guy Frees Owl from Kitchen Using a Swiffer (SLYT). NSFW due to a small amount of cursing.
posted by invisible ink (48 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by aubilenon at 1:14 AM on April 20, 2017 [8 favorites]

That worked better than I would have expected. I've never had to deal with an indoor owl but back in college I lived in a second floor apartment that had a bit of a bat problem. I always suspected there was a colony living in the attic immediately above me but honestly I was too chicken to open the hatch in the ceiling to find out.

Anyway, I have no idea if it would work on owls but back in the day I was pretty good at herding bats out of the apartment by holding up a sheet and using it as a barrier to direct them towards the door.

Upon further thought.. with owls maybe a swiffer is the better way to go..
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:30 AM on April 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

"Don't give me that look" *owl gives him that look*.

Oh, that's cheered my morning right up.
posted by halcyonday at 1:33 AM on April 20, 2017 [44 favorites]

About 10 years ago, I was renting a place that had heating, but also a weird wood-burning stove in the middle of the living room. The lease said I was never to open it or have a fire in it, which was fine. It had central heating and I didn't want to deal with the flue.

Anyway, one morning going to work, I kept hearing this weird clanging and rustling in it. I was in a rush on the way out, so I just ran out the door. A couple hours later, I was sitting at my desk going "crap, there is a trapped animal in there. What do I do?". The last apartment I was in was in a very rat friendly area, and my brother got bit coming out of the shower (the shower was on a balcony -- it was weird). I went and told my boss, took a bus back home, opened all the doors and windows, put on some heavy boots and gloves, got a broom, and prepped myself for a very angry badger or something.

It was a big-ass pigeon. Got the hell out of the stove and flew right out the backdoor. Didn't even have to ask it nicely.

It was a relief. Wildlife in your home is no fun.
posted by lkc at 2:10 AM on April 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

Wild birds indoors is something that freaks me out.

When I was a kid, we had a pigeon get inside and perch up at the top of a very tall skylight. The thing proceeded to poop all over the carpet below and absolutely refused to leave (this was before you could cue up bird distress calls on demand from YouTube). It was just me and my mom at the time, and not really sure what else to do, she calls Animal Care and Control, which in San Francisco is a small but incredibly dedicated department (see also: @OfficerEdith). They send someone out who takes a look and declares that they normally don't deal with such matters, but takes pity on us and helps. The guy drags our giant-ass ladder up from the garage, climbs up there with a net, bags the thing, climbs down, and then throws it out the nearest window. A most excellent free service from the city.

We promptly instituted an anti-bird policy for the deck door after that incident, and I've been weird about birds indoors ever since.
posted by zachlipton at 2:30 AM on April 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

I once had a cat that brought me what I thought was a moth in the middle of the night, but it was a hummingbird. It fluttered around until it was exhausted and it landed on a speaker cable. I picked it up (which was like picking up air) and took it to the front door and it flew away.

Never in my watching-hummingbirds-since-a-small-child life did I imagine I would ever hold or carry a hummingbird, but that happened.

I watch pet owl videos on YouTube from time to time (oh, YAYpril post just started brewing!), but that's entirely different from having a wild animal feeling trapped in your home.
posted by hippybear at 3:00 AM on April 20, 2017 [11 favorites]

The best way to get a bird out of the house is to have all the lights off indoors, and light outside the open window. That owl wasn't going to fly out the window by itself because it couldn't see anything out there! A dark window in a lit room doesn't look like a way to escape, but a lit area outside of a dark room certainly does. It's also good to cover any parts of the window that are still closed so the bird doesn't fly into the glass.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:04 AM on April 20, 2017 [35 favorites]

My last apartment didn't have a screen pre-installed in the bedroom window, so I had to get one and sort of prop it in the open window if I wanted a breeze. And I didn't always have it securely because it was behind the dresser. And that's how one night I woke up and discovered a squirrel had gotten in and was burrowed behind a big pile of pillows in the corner.

My then-boyfriend was visiting and tried to coax it out, arming himself with a broom and a barbecue fork for some reason; it didn't really work, so we called the police to ask if animal control could come by. They pointed out it was 3 am and so no, but they suggested leaving the window open and the door shut and it would probably find its way out by morning. We did that, opting to sleep on the foldout couch in the living room. Sure enough, we ventured cautiously in the following morning and it was gone.

My favorite part of this, though, was that at about 3 am, as we were settling down in the living room, I called my workplace and left a voicemail for my boss describing the situation and saying that as a result, I was probably going to be late for work the next day. When we woke up to take care of the squirrel, I also found my boss had called back and left his own message - which was mostly him laughing too hard to speak.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:31 AM on April 20, 2017 [25 favorites]

Catching bats is really hard because they are so agile (also maybe because of sonar). But if you chase them for 30 minutes or so and never let them land (important), they get tired and start making mistakes.

I grew up in a house in the woods with 20 ft beam ceilings. Evicting lost bats was hard work.
posted by ryanrs at 5:11 AM on April 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

Once I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of my cats hissing and growling at each other, and the WHUMP of the fattest one jumping onto the bed next to my face. I turned on the lamp - he had a rodent of some kind in his mouth, and was growling at the littlest cat because she wanted to steal it.

He dropped it on the pillow.

It turned out to a flying squirrel, apparently unhurt, because I spent the next half hour trying to catch it and get it out of the house. It kept scurrying up the walls and then launching itself across the room so I couldn't get close with a towel or a sheet.

Eventually I woke my stepdad and together we managed to tire it out trap it under a towel. We took it outside, and it launched itself into the darkness.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:39 AM on April 20, 2017 [16 favorites]

When I was in my early 20s I lived in a beautiful old house in middle Tennessee with several roommates. When the weather was nice in the spring we'd leave all the windows open. On the wall of my bedroom, not far from the window, I had hung an old cow skull.

One day I went in there and noticed some sticks or twigs poking out of the eye socket of the skull. [right here and now in the present day we are in a Bird Thread so you know what's happening, but at the time I did not.] I asked all my roommates why they were messing with my stuff and no one would fess up. I thought it was a really weird and strangely specific prank to pull. I was also in my early 20s and lazy so I didn't, you know, remove them or anything. I figured I'd just roll with it, see where this whole thing ended up.

It wasn't but a day later that I opened my bedroom door just in time to see some species of DLB (drab little bird) fly into my room with a twig in its beak and go straight for the cow skull. I just stood there flabbergasted. I mean on one hand - how cool is that? A bird is building its house inside my house! [I know this makes me sound like a stoner but I promise I was just consumed with an childlike sense of wonder.]

On the other hand that skull was directly above the pillow on my bed and I was not particularly inclined to suffer the eventual results of a DLB hanging out there with my head in the target zone.

So I just stood there and watched as it did its business tucking that twig in there and then I went to work solving the problem. In hindsight I'm just flabbergasted by my ingenuity.

Did I take apart the existing nest? No.
Did I move the cow skull? No.
Did I put a screen on the window? Or close the window? No.

I got a permanent marker and wrote "NO BIRDS PAST THIS POINT" on a piece of scrap paper and taped it to my windowsill facing outwards so they could read it, and I am here today to tell you that I never saw another bird in my room.

It has literally not occurred to me until this very moment that perhaps we should have this written by default on all windowsills as they're manufactured or installed.
posted by komara at 6:06 AM on April 20, 2017 [63 favorites]

My dad's house has long been an animal magnet, on account of the fact that he lives on a large woodsy lot (that's a couple blocks off a major road in Asheville, NC) and he likes to keep the doors and windows open (he's had raccoons, bats, squirrels, birds and lizards in his kitchen before). But I think the day my dad found this guy just casually hanging out on his front porch was the day he realized he wouldn't be able to just keep his front door open all the time anymore.
posted by thivaia at 6:22 AM on April 20, 2017 [23 favorites]

OMG I would have closed the window and we'd be pals and he'd get an endless supply of mice and we'd watch tv and hang out and, and, and....
posted by photoslob at 6:41 AM on April 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Owl: What does he mean "that look"? This is how I look. This is my face. Stupid monkey.
posted by Splunge at 6:56 AM on April 20, 2017 [10 favorites]

The screaming at the beginning makes this marvelous. I must have woken up my neighbors laughing. Thanks for posting!
posted by orrnyereg at 7:06 AM on April 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

Don't give me that look.

Good patter, but honestly, I think that's the only look they have.

That worked better than I would have expected

Most birds have a perching instinct, and it's pretty easy to get them to change perches. Under stress, they'd rather step from the perch they're on to the one you're pressing against their breast while keeping an eye on you than expend the energy to fly away. Good idea though with a raptor* to use some kind of big stick rather than your finger.

I lived in a second floor apartment that had a bit of a bat problem.

I've had mice, rats, raccoons, sparrows, and starlings visit me indoors at various times. But, yeah, there's nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of leathery wings circling your bedroom.

I was pretty good at herding bats out of the apartment by holding up a sheet and using it as a barrier to direct them towards the door.

I was never able to get them any further than between the window sashes, making nasty faces. I'd take out the screen / storm, close the inside sashes, and hope they'd get the picture by morning.

* Yes, I know.
posted by Herodios at 7:09 AM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I eventually had to get a screen door because whenever I'd leave my front door open while sitting on my patio on cool mornings, a hummingbird would invariably decide to explore the house. The only clue they had done so was the distinctive thrumming of their wings as they tried to find a way out of the loft window.

This happened a few times but always ended well, with me eventually catching them with my bare hands and setting them free. Two observations have impressed me about hummingbirds when holding them. One, they are incredibly light and seem so fragile, and two, their tiny hearts seem to beat almost as fast as their wings.

Now when I sit on the front patio in the mornings with my door open, but the screen door shut, they will come to drink at the feeder and then spend a little time scoping out the screen door. Sometimes, they then come hover in front of my face. I like to imagine they are saying hello and asking to be invited inside...
posted by darkstar at 7:15 AM on April 20, 2017 [15 favorites]

Once there was a baby squirrel in my dad's storage room (maybe more adolescent than a baby? but not a grownup, it was smol), and my dad decided to try and catch it and release it outside. He basically created barriers and slowly closed the perimeter until the squirrel was trapped in a very small space in the corner.

My dad said the squirrel looked around, realized it couldn't escape and just LAY DOWN AND PULLED ITS TAIL OVER ITS FACE, WAITING TO DIE.

My dad just put it in a cake carrier and set it free, but one of the most permanent images in my mind and heart is that tragic babby squirrel, trying to make peace with his own destruction, but not wanting to watch it happen.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:02 AM on April 20, 2017 [44 favorites]

I had a bat in my apartment once, and although I did many things to try and get him to leave, I never actually *saw* him leave. So I was never sure he was actually gone and not just, like, dead behind the refrigerator. But now I'm left wondering...

...maybe the owl got him?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:21 AM on April 20, 2017

Last summer was the summer of bats, at my house. I swear the minute I went to bed there would be leathery wings and a bat swooping around in my bedroom. I eventually had an animal control company come out and do what they call "bat exclusion". They found the two spots where the bats were getting into my attic, and they put one way doors on them. The bats can get out but can't get back in. It seemed to work - the rustling noises in the attic disappeared and after having three bats in my bedroom, the week before the exclusion, I didn't have any more after the exclusion.

The animal control guy told me that bats are a beneficial animal and you should not exclude them during nesting season. The young are fed by their parents for six weeks and if you exclude the parents, juvenile bats will starve to death in your attic. But when nesting season ended, he was run off his feet excluding bats all over town; his company stacked up a lot of bat exclusion jobs during the six weeks they couldn't do it.

I wonder what the animal control guy would say about owls?
posted by elizilla at 8:46 AM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

We live in mosquito country and you folks living without screens just make me skeevy. What the hell is wrong with you?

A hail storm took out screens in our living room and my wife, who is a fresh air addict, decided one night she HAD to have some fucking crossbreeze. That led to a bat in our living room. In a house with six cats. To them it looked like a bird. A fast but undoubtedly tasty bird. After much drama and lots of tipped over brick-a-brack, the bat took a flight plan straight through the middle of the room and damned if our tubby little Main Coon cross went at it using the back of the love seat as a launch point. And damn, she brought it down. This is what happens when you name your cats after Game of Thrones characters. She dragged the poor squeaking thing into the dining room where we managed to separate them with a broom. By now the bat is exhausted and panicked.

I did a quick Google search. With bats, they'll go outside if the house is dark but there's an open door or window with a light on outside. We shut off all the lights, swept it toward the laundry room where the outside door was open and the porch light on. That was on relieved bat that flew out.

And tubby little Sansa likes to take an afternoon nap and dream about the night when she took out Batman.
posted by Ber at 8:53 AM on April 20, 2017 [12 favorites]

We had a bit of a bat problem in the house where I grew up, so I became a fairly adept and blasé bat catching assistant. The house technique was to wait until the bat landed somewhere, then to creep up on it with a designated bat catching basket and a stiff piece of cardboard, pop the basket over it, slide the cardboard between the wall and the lip of the basket to contain the bat, and then evict the (usually angrily squeaking) intruder out the front door.

So during my first semester in college, our dorm hallway was invaded by a bat, much to the hysterical terror of many of the residents. Calls by our RA to local animal control and then (in desperation) the campus police yielded no results, so I boldly declared my expertise as a bat catcher and proposed to solve the problem myself. I pressed a small trash can into service in place of the customary basket, and proceeded to sneak up on the resting bat, with every girl in my hallway leaning out of their rooms to watch my progress. I wasn't stealthy enough, though, and the bat took flight. I will never forget the thunderous noise of sixteen simultaneously slamming doors, leaving me trapped alone in the hallway with a bat on the wing.

I did get the bat out on my second attempt and was declared a hero. But I decided that one feat of bat wrangling was plenty for the year, and the next time there was a bat in the dorm, I just quietly ducked out for the evening.
posted by merriment at 9:05 AM on April 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

Pro tip: Swiffers are also excellent at killing bugs hanging out on the ceiling. (Though you might want to swap out those expensive Swiffer pads for a cheap paper towel.)
posted by Soliloquy at 9:41 AM on April 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

One branch of my family likes to tell a story of a time when my great-grandmother opened a closet and caught a quick glimpse of a bat inside, hanging off of an ironing board or something. Reflexes kick in and she slams the door shut quickly, then calls various family members to come over and do something about the bat.

Long story short, someone comes over, pounces on the bat and gets it into a coat or sheet or something, whereupon they beat the shit out of the restrained bat. When they're satisfied that it's dead, they peek inside to find . . . bat powder. The poor thing had apparently entered the closet a long time ago, been unable to exit, died, and dehydrated, and everyone was so upset by there being a bat in the house that nobody had even noticed it was dead already.

P.S. I do not condone beating the shit out of bats, living or dead. That's just how the story goes.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:43 AM on April 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Herodios: But, yeah, there's nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of leathery wings circling your bedroom.

I agree. I can't remember if I was comforted or disconcerted in finding an apple with a bite taken out of it after hearing flapping wings. "Oh, it's (only) a fruit bat. These mosquito nets will keep them out, right?"

I think we had birds in our house a few times when I was a kid, both after Christmas (or maybe it was once, and it seemed significant enough that I'm doubling it). The bird flew down our chimney and hid in our Christmas tree, so we took off all the ornaments and took the tree out, with the bird in the tree. "Guess it was time to do that anyway," we agreed.

komara: On the other hand that skull was directly above the pillow on my bed and I was not particularly inclined to suffer the eventual results of a DLB hanging out there with my head in the target zone.

Bird messes are the key reason you don't want to let birds build nests in or near your home. "Ooh, look! Swallows in our eves!" you might think. "They'll eat bugs and we'll get to see little baby swallows up close!"

Two months later, your eaves have a few swallow families, and the wall and ground is covered in swallow poop.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:01 AM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter: covered in swallow poop.
posted by Splunge at 10:30 AM on April 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

We were living in Maine with a dear friend of ours, with our kid and dog in the house as well. We'd all had a shitty year, we were all getting ready to move out of that apartment so half our shit was packed up. Seriously depressing times, but roommate scored some weed. We were so excited to get stoned and watch TV, because everything was so awful for all of us for a number of reasons, that this was like the ultimate highlight.

So we were all pleasantly baked, and watching TV. Something caught my eye and I looked over in that oh-so-awful slow motion way saw a bat flying right at my head. My reaction time is like molasses and it took more than a couple beats for it to register, and before I know it, the dog is barking like the world has ended and is JUMPING IN THE AIR trying to EAT THE BAT, our roommate is shrieking and diving for cover in appropriate fashion, the child wakes up screaming (rightfully so) and my wife is army crawling across the floor to get to his room yelling at everyone to shut the fuck up.

I picked up the dog and tossed him into a bedroom with some never before seen or repeated hulk-strength, and slammed the door. Our roommate literally hides under a blanket, and I start running around the room opening all the windows and tearing the screens out. We end up using the screens as shields trying to corral this bat. Nothing's working. We can't get this poor dude to the windows. We try pillow-casing him, guiding him with huge blankets. So many things. Nothing was working at all.

Now remember, this is high-time. It's realistically been 45 minutes of this, but it feels like this has been happening for DAYS. In our minds, this was our new reality, and we had to live in it.

I finally get the bat pinned to the wall with one of the screens. I know if I remove the screen, the poor dude is going to fly away and we're going to be in the same cycle we've been in for the better part of the last hour. My wife was hanging pictures earlier that day, and had left a hammer on a side table within arms reach. I look over at our roommate, and with all of the guilt and shame in the world, I yell out "ERIKA, I HAVE TO KILL IT." I picked up the hammer, and gave the bat a firm smack right in the dome, through the screen. I slowly released the screen, and the bat fell lifeless to the floorboards leaving a little nickel sized dot of blood on the wall. We all felt awful, but the wave of relief that came was unreal.

While I did pay my penance, and put up several bat houses in the yard on different trees, I still don't quite forgive that particular bat for wrecking that night so badly. We'd all had such a bummer year, and that was just the dumb-bat-cherry on top.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:16 AM on April 20, 2017 [9 favorites]

Don't give me that look...
Good patter, but honestly, I think that's the only look they have.

It's called Resting Beak Face.

(Recycling a joke I made in an old thread, but what the hell.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:57 PM on April 20, 2017 [13 favorites]

(If you ever wake up and find a bat inside your house, consider calling your doctor ASAP about the CDC's recommendation
"Bats are increasingly implicated as important wildlife reservoirs for variants of rabies virus transmitted to humans. [...] Postexposure prophylaxis can be considered for persons who were in the same room as a bat and who might be unaware that a bite or direct contact had occurred (e.g., a sleeping person awakens to find a bat in the room [...]) and rabies cannot be ruled out by testing the bat."
Owls are, presumably, just there to steal your tootsie-pops.)
posted by introp at 12:57 PM on April 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

I recall visiting Stirling Castle some years ago and a woman giving the tour was dressed in courtly clothes and had a tame owl perched on her arm. (Would this make her an owler?) She told us all kinds of wondrous things about that Great Hall, but the two things that I remember most are the room's completely restored hammerbeam vaulting, and the owl.

The guide confided that, while they have a reputation for being wise, owls are quite stupid creatures. This is a fact I have never somehow been able to completely assimilate, despite intellectually knowing it is probably true. Owls have such a penetrating gaze because of those. darn. eyes. that it's hard to imagine anything other than some deep, animating intelligence behind them.
posted by darkstar at 1:19 PM on April 20, 2017

(Or...was the owler in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle? The restored hammerbeam vaults were at Stirling, definitely.)

/sucks to get old

posted by darkstar at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

bat powder

Surely there is an occult market for this?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

I imagine so, but no one thought of it at the time.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 4:02 PM on April 20, 2017

Man, that video was great, and the stories in here are even better.

The best way to get a bird out of the house is to have all the lights off indoors, and light outside the open window.

So on the one hand this seems like totally reasonable, sensible advice. On the other hand, your advice to the screaming man trapped in a house with a strange owl is to give the owl a further advantage.
posted by cortex at 9:10 PM on April 20, 2017 [15 favorites]

woman giving the tour was dressed in courtly clothes and had a tame owl perched on her arm. (Would this make her an owler?)

Being a woman that would make her an owlette. If it was raining she would be a moist owlette.
posted by Splunge at 11:34 AM on April 21, 2017 [18 favorites]

More owl facts.

More bat facts.

posted by Splunge at 11:39 AM on April 21, 2017

Pots, pans, and brooms are are all made for the express purpose of catching outdoor animals when they venture indoors.
posted by Fizz at 8:30 AM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Pro tip: Swiffers are also excellent at killing bugs hanging out on the ceiling. (Though you might want to swap out those expensive Swiffer pads for a cheap paper towel.)

Duct tape (sticky side out). No escape. No mercy.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 2:05 PM on April 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had a bat in my room when I was a teenager. I woke up from a sound sleep to the sound of my parents talking right outside my door; the part that got my attention was "Well, as long as she doesn't wake up and panic, it'll be fine." Uh... wake up and panic about what?! There was a beam right above my bed, close enough that I could reach up and put my palm flat on it when I was lying in bed. That's where the batty bat was. I like bats, but not close enough that I can smell them. (Sort of dusty.)

Anyway. Once I burrowed under the covers and out the foot of my bed, and fled to the living room, my parents opened all my bedroom windows and turned off the lights, in hopes that Batty McGee would fly out. The door was shut to keep my hysterically interested cats out. We all settled down to try to sleep... except my dad, who became convinced that every bat in the area would move into my room overnight. He finally got up and found an old badminton racket, a piece of cardboard, and my mom's gigantic Tupperware salad bowl, and went in to try to catch the bat. He managed to get it into the bowl somehow, and took it outside, where it happily flew off into the night. I heard years later that I should have assumed the bat had rabies and had bitten me, since it was so close to me, but eh, I obviously didn't get rabies.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:00 PM on April 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

This reminds me of when I learned chipmunks really like juggling balls.

All three of the housemates were jugglers, so we had a bowl full of juggling balls, filled variously with nut shells, cracked seed, and sand. I had a set that were each colored differently, and noticed one day the orange one was gone. No housemates would fess up to having dropped the orange one somewhere stupid.

Then the green one vaporized; about that time we realized the quantity of red ones had dropped rather noticeably too. We found the first chipmunk cowering under the futon, next to a completely deflated orange juggling ball. They run *fast* when scared.

We eventually figured out that we could corral them outside by building a pathway with cushions and boxes leading to the door. After the landlord repaired the hole in the basement where they were getting in, we started having a mouse problem-- chipmunks also like hiding the contents of ex-juggling balls all over the house, too.

At least they don't fly.
posted by nat at 5:42 AM on April 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

This reminds me of when I learned chipmunks really like juggling balls.

Ha! Last year we put a whole bunch of stuff from our living room in the garage. When we went to bring it back in, we discovered that all our juggling balls had been reduced to empty husks by the chipmunks. Because they were full of millet. It was one of those things that was really obvious in retrospect.

Years ago, I had gerbils. Every week or so, I would clean out their cage and put all the detritus in a paper bag. Because gerbils like to create food hoards, this included used bedding and quite a bit of the seed mix I fed them. I'd roll the paper bag shut and put it in the garage to go out with the trash.

The bags didn't get taken out with the trash, which was my partner's job. I finally asked him about it when several weeks' worth had accumulated, and we realized I'd never told him they were trash—I'd just assumed he would figure it out, but it hadn't been obvious to him.

We went to put them into plastic trash bags, and discovered that every single one of them had had a little hole chewed in its corner and was being lived in by mice. Because what I'd been doing for weeks was putting sweet little mouse-pods, complete with bedding and food supply, in a convenient location. I might as well have posted a tiny sign saying, "If you lived here, you'd be home now."
posted by Orlop at 10:10 AM on April 26, 2017 [9 favorites]

...what did you do with the mouse-pods? Put them outside under bushes, or just evict the mice?
posted by tavella at 12:01 PM on April 26, 2017

I am appalled to have missed this thread when it was new. In my defense, I have been tending to a newborn lo these past two weeks.

Anyway: a comical series of ever-escalating disasters with the house we just bought led us to last fall, where all the drywall on the third floor had been ripped out, either because of water damage or to get at the asbestos behind it. (Like I said: ever-escalating, and comical now that it's safely in the past) So, when the colony of bats moved into the attic, there was no impediment keeping them out of the main rooms of the house. Which is how I came to awaken one night, hazily aware of some movement that should not have been there. As my eyes focused, I noticed that there was something amiss with the ceiling fan directly above the bed: a lone bat, doing frantic laps in the opposite direction of the fan blade.

Now. A less enterprising person might have closed the door to the room and left the problem for morning, but 3:30AM-me was in no mood for such restraint. I quickly armed myself with a plastic trash can, and leapt onto the bed in pursuit of the bewinged terror. What followed must have been slapstick straight from the book of Laurel and Hardy: I swooped the trash can back and forth to little avail, because those damned things are FAST. I finally caught a break, and caught it a glancing blow to the side... whereupon the bat careered desperately leftward, directly into the moving fan blade. Said fan blade promptly picked him up, spun him 90 degrees clockwise, and then let centripetal force take over as it hurled him into the wall. I quickly ran to grab a cardboard box lid, and used it to pick up the stunned bat and drop him into the trash can, before fitting the lid over top of the can as a crude seal.

As I may have mentioned, at this point it was 3:37AM, and I was a little foggy. Rather than try to navigate the screen over the window in that room, I opted to descend the staircase and head for the back door to the house, where I knew I could release him safely. Unfortunately, I overestimated the velocity of the ceiling fan, because halfway down the stairs, the bat woke up. Sadly, the trash can I had selected for this task had a scalloped upper edge, so the now-terrified bat wedged one wing into the gap and started trying to wiggle through the hole. In a desperate race against the bat's escape into the 10-foot ceilings of the lower floor, I ran pell-mell for the door, using one hand to frantically beat at the bat's wing and head as they emerged further from the makeshift prison. I reached the door just as the bat got its torso free, and screamed a berserker yell as I hurled the entire apparatus, bat and all, out through the door.

Reader, that bat survived the incident alive and well. He's still out there somewhere, recounting the story to his incredulous friends. Meanwhile, I learned that waking up in a room with a bat in it means you get treated as though you've been exposed to rabies. Further, my 260-pound self also learned that immunoglobulin shots are dosed on body weight, which is how the berserker yell made a second appearance the next morning in the ER as the sixth giant syringe caught a nerve cluster in my thigh.
posted by Mayor West at 1:11 PM on April 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm impressed. I couldn't even maintain eye contact with the owl in the video. Had I been in that guy's place, I'm sure I would have left the building and waited outside until the owl left of its own accord.

Related: is there anyone here who hasn't heard Squirrel Cop?

Note: it's an episode of TAL about a police response to a call re a squirrel in the house and one of the funniest things I've ever heard. My attempts to describe the story end within a couple of sentences because I start giggling incoherently. A few years ago I emailed a link to the story to my son and then bugged him repeatedly until he finally listened a few weeks later. His response was something on the order of "meh". In retrospect, nothing could have lived up to my hype.

And that's how "squirrel cop" became a verb in the familial lexicon, e.g., "I'm not going to say any more about You Want it Darker—I don't want to squirrel cop the album".

(But seriously, you have got to listen to squirrel cop. It is the be-all and end-all of animal-in-the-house stories.)
posted by she's not there at 8:21 PM on April 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

When I had an indoor-outdoor cat, the way I learned that she had mastered hunting was that at about 6 AM one morning, she released a live, totally unharmed baby bunny in my bedroom, presumably because the toys she already had were boring. I was living in a second-story apartment with a door to a balcony right off my bedroom. When I lurched awake and realized what was happening, I staggered to the balcony door and opened it, I guess thinking if the bunny ran out there I could corral it a little more easily.

Well, the bunny saw an exit, jumped off the balcony, hit the ground running and was GONE in seconds. My cat was clearly thinking about trying to make the jump and follow it, so I herded her back inside and declared her an Indoor Kitty at least until baby bunny season was over.
posted by nonasuch at 8:52 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't believe I haven't thought about Neil Gaiman's lemon-scented sticky bat sooner. (Bottom of that post.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:23 AM on April 29, 2017

It was a big-ass pigeon. Got the hell out of the stove and flew right out the backdoor.

No kidding, lkc, we had this exact same situation. Except we had no idea what kind of animal it might be. Thank god it was a bird and we didn't have a pissed off rat drop down onto the kitchen floor.
posted by vignettist at 8:03 AM on May 4, 2017

Owl: What does he mean "that look"? This is how I look. This is my face. Stupid monkey.

Resting owl face.
posted by vignettist at 8:10 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

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