November 9, 2018

"The bats never hurt us, and we were always catching them in our hands and releasing them outside because you hear all the time about how bats are good..."

"... for the insect population, and you don’t want to hurt them... The bats would lick our fingers, almost like they could taste the saltiness of our fingers, but they never bit us.... I've always thought bats were kind of cute, but I had no idea the kind of risk we were at. We would wake up in the night and they would be walking on our bed."

Said Juanita Giles, who, with her husband Gary, was on friendly terms with the bats in their house, quoted in "Utah man, 55, who used to encourage bats to land on his hands to feed becomes the state's first rabies death since 1944" (Daily Mail).

51 comments:

rehajm said...

Yah people aren’t likely to go pick up a rabid raccoon, so bats get a bad rep.

rehajm said...

Perhaps I should say less likely

dda6ga dda6ga said...

Cue the Forest Gump quote:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Forrest+Gump+Stupid+Is+as+Stupid+Does&&view=detail&mid=5DCD13EF853FD34026555DCD13EF853FD3402655&&FORM=VRDGAR

EDH said...

Hence the term: bat-shit crazy.

Jim Harvey said...

Do people think they are living in some different reality?

Does big brother need to start making public health-themed TV dramas to get through to people?

It's like the vaccine deniers.

Jim Harvey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Owen said...

Darwin Award, Galaxy Class, by acclamation.

Jim Harvey said...

I had a friend, Johns Hopkins student no less, who wandered around with a baby raccoon for a couple of weeks. It was a chick magnet.

Ryan said...

Good for the insect population? I think insects would disagree...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I had a friend, Johns Hopkins student no less, who wandered around with a baby raccoon for a couple of weeks. It was a chick magnet.

My eight year old son says that if he's ever sight impaired he's going to get a service monkey instead of a boring old golden retriever.

This bat thing reminds me of the people who spread their toddler's hand with honey to get a bear to lick it for a photo op, with a predictable (to people who have spent two whole minutes around animals, anyway) outcome.

M Jordan said...

We’ve had bats in our house. I’m not a fan. I did learn one trick: hold up a tennis racquet and a flying bat will often land on it. They like the webbing. Then take another racquet and sandwich the bat between them, walk outside, and release. You will have humanely solved the bat problem until he comes back.

The best solution, which ultimately worked for us: seal up every crack around your roof. A real pain but it worked.

Ann Althouse said...

If you catch and release it and then discover a bite/scratch mark on you — as I once did — you will need rabies shots.

Fernandistein said...

The bats are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind
The bats are blowin' in the wind.

My name goes here. said...

"This bat thing reminds me of the people who spread their toddler's hand with honey to get a bear to lick it for a photo op, with a predictable (to people who have spent two whole minutes around animals, anyway) outcome."

Is this a thing?

Do you have a link? I am not doubting you, but I would like to read about people's stupidity if given an opportunity.

Meade said...

Here's the protocol for dealing with bats in Madison, Wisconsin.

Matt said...

Feels like such a rookie mistake. At least where I live, there are warning signs near bat colonies. Local government gives periodic warnings not to handle bats. If they find a bat with rabies, they cover the area with notices. You have to be willfully ignorant not to be aware of the danger.

Chest Rockwell said...

Everything I've read about having a rabies infection is absolutely horrifying.

If you miss the window for the shots, you're fucked, and it's a horrible , awful death.

iowan2 said...

The ever more prevalent trend to anthropomorphize animals will encourage more of this stupidity.

rcocean said...

Meade: Interesting. I didn't know you could be bitten by a bat and NOT know it.

Cyndi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curious George said...

"Meade said...
Here's the protocol for dealing with bats in Madison, Wisconsin."

That's the protocol everywhere. If you wake up with a bat in your room you have to assume that you have been bitten. This happened to me a few years ago at my place up north, fortunately I captured the bat and had it tested. No rabies.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Do you have a link? I am not doubting you, but I would like to read about people's stupidity if given an opportunity.

In the memory is funny department, I went looking for the photo I was certain I had seen - my brain told me it was at Yellowstone and I had read about it in National Geographic - but it seems that perhaps my brain supplied those details itself. All I could find was a passage, offered without citation, in Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, so it likely is not true. I love the guy and his work but I suspect he's almost as big a fabulist as David Sedaris.

Cyndi said...

" 'This bat thing reminds me of the people who spread their toddler's hand with honey to get a bear to lick it for a photo op, with a predictable (to people who have spent two whole minutes around animals, anyway) outcome.'

"Is this a thing?

"Do you have a link? I am not doubting you, but I would like to read about people's stupidity if given an opportunity."

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bear-mauls-honey-smeared-child/

This seems to be a legend. But it doesn't rule out the possibility that it has happened.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Cyndi, see my comment directly above yours :)

Clark said...

I woke up with a bat in my room a couple years ago. It was going round and round with one of my cats. Twice the cat was wrestling with it on the ground, no doubt getting bitten in the process. I trapped the bat to have it checked. Sure enough, it had Rabies.

The shots are not that bad. The stories about how terrible they are come from an earlier time. But they are expensive. My treatment (immune globulin + vaccine; vaccine; vaccine) cost $11,000, paid for by insurance.

You do not want to die from Rabies.

tcrosse said...

Here's the protocol for dealing with bats in Madison, Wisconsin.

It's a Bat Mitzvah.

Robin Eatmon said...

Bats are cool. I follow several bat rescue groups, etc. on Facebook. But, if you are going to hang around or handle bats you need to have a rabies vaccination beforehand and knowledge about how to handle them.

Fernandistein said...

But it doesn't rule out the possibility that it has happened.

Those big people hanging a pork-chop around my neck so the dog would play with me might've happened.

James Smith said...

Tcrosse,
It's a Bat Mitzvah.

I wonder how many will get the joke behind the joke.

This kind of foolishness reminds me of the photographer in Alaska who thought he had a special connection with the big bears. Convinced his girlfriend to come live among the bears with him. Both were killed and eaten by a bear.

TickTock said...

Re: Idiots

The best place to see them is in Yellowstone. On a trip there a few years ago, I saw a bunch of tourists chasing to baby bears, trying to take pictures. I could only assume the bear cubs were headed towards Momma Bear. Same trip I saw a Japanese tourist stand 3 feet in front of a bison to taken a picture. So many people seem to assume the outdoors is a big petting zoo. Fortunately those people are probably all Democrats.

richlb said...

The boyfriend of my wife's boss was recently bitten by a bat. It struck him while he was walking and landed on the ground. Idiot picked it up and it bit him. Now he's in for the full regimen of rabies shots.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

waiting for Eric The Fruit Bat to weigh in.

as a chiropertian- American, I'm sure he's offended

Michael McNeil said...

Maybe we should just add rabies to the list of diseases that everyone customarily gets immunized against. No doubt economies of scale would thereupon bring down the unit cost of the vaccine enormously — and then bats, raccoons, et al., would then no longer need to be demonized. (Folks know that they can pick up diseases from their cats and dogs too, right?)

Phidippus said...

Is it just me, or does anyone else see some kind of parallel with this story and the previous one about Obama?

Tom T. said...

Rabies: the one enemy the bat-man could not defeat.

iowan2 said...

If you wake up with a bat in your room you have to assume that you have been bitten.

Not sure about this. Having grown up in a big two story farm house built in the 1800's, it was not uncommon to awake to a bat swooping about. Six of us in that house and my dad was 3rd generation. My great nieces and nephews are now residence of the same house, much updated. Bat occurrences are not as common, but do happen. The point is, in more than a century, no bat bites.
Trying to figure out why an insect eater would bite something that was not threatening. Again not impossible, just can't figure out the why.

iowan2 said...

then bats, raccoons, et al., would then no longer need to be demonized.

I don't see them demonized now. The problem is maybe people should demonize wild animals if that's what it takes to make them stop treating them like stuffed animals they won at the carnival.

As kids we were warned to stay away from wild critters, and run and tell mom or dad if we saw an animal acting strange, like not running from humans.

JAORE said...

I blame Walt Disney.

Rabel said...

"If you find a dead bat, use a paper towel or disposable rubber gloves and carefully place it in a small plastic container, such as a cottage cheese type container and put it in the fridge for safe keeping."

What could possibly go wrong.

n.n said...

So-called herd "immunity" does not prevent contagion from carriers.

Curious George said...

"iowan2 said...
If you wake up with a bat in your room you have to assume that you have been bitten.

Not sure about this. Having grown up in a big two story farm house built in the 1800's, it was not uncommon to awake to a bat swooping about. Six of us in that house and my dad was 3rd generation. My great nieces and nephews are now residence of the same house, much updated. Bat occurrences are not as common, but do happen. The point is, in more than a century, no bat bites.
Trying to figure out why an insect eater would bite something that was not threatening. Again not impossible, just can't figure out the why."

Rabid animals do strange things. And this is the CDC protocol. Because rabies is virtually 100% fatal. And not a fun way to go.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Michael McNeil said...

Maybe we should just add rabies to the list of diseases that everyone customarily gets immunized against. No doubt economies of scale would thereupon bring down the unit cost of the vaccine enormously — and then bats, raccoons, et al., would then no longer need to be demonized. (Folks know that they can pick up diseases from their cats and dogs too, right?)

Vaccinating the population works for diseases like mumps and measles to no small extent due to herd immunity. The vaccine doesn't work for everyone*, but if enough of the population gets the vaccine, then the disease won't spread because not enough people can spread it. Herd immunity won't help with rabies, because it is not spread human-to-human. So even if we gave everyone the vaccine, it still would be unwise to go near a bat or raccoon.

*and some people can't get the vaccine due to immune or other issues

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Heard a noise in the garage the other day. Opened the door from the house to the garage and looked around from the top of the 3 steps that lead down to the garage floor, but didn't see anything. Then I saw motion at the top of my peripheral vision and looked up. There was a raccoon in the open ceiling joists about a foot and a half above my head. I could have reached up and grabbed a handful of him, if I had wanted to.

I didn't.

iowan2 said...

Curious George
Rabid animals do strange things. And this is the CDC protocol. Because rabies is virtually 100% fatal. And not a fun way to go.

Yes safety first. But, my faith in govt agencies can not get much lower. If they had stats on the numbers of people that have been infected that way, it could be an eye opener. Unless the media just doesn't report people that die of unknown exposure to rabis, I have never seen this reported, or heard anecdotal accounts happening in rural IA.

James K said...

I can understand the guy getting bitten, but not to realize it and go get the shots is, well, bat-shit crazy.

I once had a bat slide under the door into the bathroom I was in. They can flatten themselves out to slip through very narrow cracks. It was surreal. I opened the window and as far as I know the bat flew out.

The Vault Dweller said...

There is a reason a bat-filled cave has always been synonymous with with evil and foreboding. They even knew of the association between Rabies and bats in ancient Greek times.

Meade said...

“What could possibly go wrong. ”

Well yes, good point. Let’s see. Just to be safe, one really should use common sense and, with a sharpie pen, write on the lid of all cottage cheese type containers in the fridge that do NOT contain bats: “batless cottage cheese in here.” Otherwise, imagine your embarrassment if, when turning over custody of what you think is a captured bat, the authorities pop the lid and out flies nothing but cottage cheese!

Merny11 said...

So Clark, what happened to your cat?

Douglas said...

I was walking at dusk by the river in Shenzhen, China the other day and there were dozens of bats flying overhead and you could hear thousands of them in their caves getting ready to fly. It was beautiful and sad - sad because I can remember bats flying overhead at dusk in Connecticut and Maine not 10 years ago, and now they're all gone. But if a bat ever landed on me, I'd be in the ER getting rabies shots ASAP.

Tinderbox said...

People like this know better but fancy themselves to be special exceptions. Exactly like that "Grizzly Man' Timothy Treadwell who thought he communed with nature better than anyone else and ended up being eaten for his disregard of common sense.

Liza Moon said...

my 150 or so year old farmhouse has had bats for 150 years. when i cleaned the attic so as to re-insulate the layers were as such: bat shit, loose fill fiberglass, bat shit, loose fill fiberglass, bat shit, loose fill fiberglass, bat shit, papers from 1870, bat shit, upside of plaster.

first time i counted how many come out at night i stopped watching after 80.

i love bats. seems they like my house.