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Small brown bats such as this can each consume hundreds of mosquitoes every night during the summer.

An uninvited guest

I knew it was going to be bad when I saw my dog's eyes following something. A brown bat was flying around the room. Aren't they supposed to be hibernating?

Usually, my neighbor Greg comes over when there is a bat in the house. He is brave and has the amazing ability of catching a bat with his baseball cap and then releasing it outside.

I have no such talent. Bats terrify me. I know that the bat isn't going to attack me or get stuck in my hair and yet, it is still terrifying.

As terrified as I was, I couldn't get over the fact that the bat was supposed to be hibernating. If the bat were starving, I couldn't have Greg catch the bat and take it outside. It is too cold and there are no insects to eat.

I did muster some bravery and managed to shut the door when the bat flew into one of the bedrooms. I thought the next day I would find the bat sleeping, and I would somehow put it in a container to transport elsewhere.

The next day I searched the bedroom and was unable to find the bat. I thought, great it went back to the attic. Actually, a possible bat colony in my attic isn't such a great thing. But, for the moment, I was relieved.

That evening the bat started flying around the bedroom, so again I shut the door to that room. I decided I needed help. I called Bob Walton who rehabilitates injured and displaced bats.

Walton found the female brown bat sleeping among books in a bookcase. According to Walton, a bat that doesn't have enough food reserves to last through the winter will wake up to search for food. He asked me to name the bat and had me pet her before he took her home.

Betty will be cared for and then released in the spring. Maybe this winter I will visit Betty and learn not to be afraid.

Guest Tail Tails blogger Cathie Rowand is a photographer and gardening blogger at The Journal Gazette. If you would like to share stories about your pets or visiting critters, as well as photos, please send them to critters@jg.net. Photos need to be JPEG attachments.

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