At mid-morning one of the IT guys from the office next to me called me out in the hallway, pointing at the window at the end of the hall. “Have you seen this?” he asked. I looked and saw there was an enormous brown insect clinging to the screen. The window was closed, so I moved closer. Nope, not an insect – a bat!
Sometime between Friday night and this morning someone had closed the window, trapping the bat between the window and the screen. Poor thing. We thought it might be dead but we must have woken it while standing there yakking because it moved a little. We both felt sorry for it and began devising a way to set it free.
We began to discuss ways that we could get the bat out without it flying back into the hallway. ITGuy and I went into my office to examine how the screens open. Damn. To open the screen you have to pull the pins at the edges and then pull the screen in instead of pushing it outward. Plan A had simply been to open the window enough to open the screen, then closing the window again so that the bat could just leave.
We talked some more and decided that we could open the window, put a small box over the bat and then slip a piece of cardboard between the box and screen to dislodge the bat into the box. Then we would take the box outside and leave it, arranging it so the bat could get out. Sort of like getting rid of a big insect you don’t want to kill.
While we were in my office finding a suitable box and cardboard, the bat had crawled from the center of the screen to the left edge. When we got back to the window it was moving around. We stood there discussing strategy, watching as it righted itself and peed on the screen. It turned and hung upside down again, as bats do, looked around a bit and then settled down. It was asleep.
I was poised to put the box over the bat so ITGuy opened the window and… Shit. This window, unlike the one in my office, would only open halfway. There was a security stopper in it that we couldn’t remove. The bat was still behind the glass. So much for the box idea. We debated whether we should slide the cardboard between the glass and screen to knock it down but then what? It would be laying in the window tracks? It would flop around and hurt itself? It would fly back into the hallway? We definitely weren’t going to handle it.
ITGuy decided to try to take the screen out anyway. Somehow, he was able to manuever it out of the tracks and pivot it vertically so that half the screen – the half that had the bat on it – was outside the window and half was inside the window. We gently closed the window on the screen and tied the inside end of the screen up with the cord from the blinds so that the screen wouldn’t fall out the window onto the car parked below.
ITGuy2 joined us. We explained what was going on. The bat crawled to the top edge of the screen. We all stood there waiting for it to fly away but it didn’t move. We figured it might be weak but also, knowing that bats are nocturnal, that it might not leave until this evening. No problem. We’d just keep an eye on it and put up a sign so that people would leave it alone. ITGuy2 said that if it didn’t leave he could take it home and release it, there’s a lot of bats in his hood.
Then, for some dumb reason, ITGuy2 told the security director about the bat and that we’d planned to leave it there. SecDir must have immediately phoned maintenance because two maintenance guys showed up within minutes carrying a box and a broom. We started in on a discussion. We wanted the maintenance guys to leave the bat alone. The maintenance guys just wanted to do what their boss had told them to do and get rid of it.
Things might have gotten heated if the operations VP hadn’t shown up just then. (His office is the last in the hallway, closest to the window where the bat was. Mine is next door to his and the ITGuys are next to me.) We explained to VPOps what was going on. He said “Do you have any idea how many mosquitos that bat eats? Heck, I’d like this one to be living in my backyard.” Then he told the maintenance guys to leave the bat alone. “Yes, sir” they said and left. Hah! Security and maintenance report to VPOps, so I guess the bat is safe for now.
I’ve been checking on the bat every so often. Now it’s crawled back to the edge of the window and wedged itself between the window and screen. Probably to create some security and darkness for itself. My sign that says ‘don’t mess with the bat’ will hopefully prevent someone from crushing the bat by trying to close the window all the way.
I’m just hoping the bat makes it out of this hazardous place alive.