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Let’s Talk About Ra-a-bies! Let’s Talk About You And Me!

I had this whole post planned, explaining about the latest problem with Those Damned Selbuvotter Mittens. (I blocked them and everything, and THEN I discovered that I had dropped a stitch on the thumb.)

Selbuvotter mitten mistake

But then all my worries were interrupted by RABIES. That’s right: rabies.

When you live in the country, you learn about stuff like rabies. It’s not as big a problem now as it was in the 50s and 60s, when a major public health campaign put the fear of god into a lot of people. But it’s still a thing.

What you want to watch out for, when you can, is animals behaving in an unusual or erratic fashion. This means learning how animals usually behave, and a lot of people make bad calls on that basis.

Normal: A bat fluttering around at dusk, dawn, or after dark.

Normal: A bat fluttering around briefly during the day, but quickly finding a roost. (Sometimes they get spooked out of their usual homes, but they rarely fly around for long before hiding. Like that little dude I rescued a few years ago.)

Normal: A coyote active during the day. Coyotes are diurnal (daytime) animals by nature. It’s only in contact with humans that they have switched to nocturnal life, to avoid us. If a coyote trots through your yard it’s not (as my next-but-one neighbors believe) cause to grab your rifle.

Abnormal: A coyote staggering, standing, lying around, or otherwise moving awkwardly during the day.

Abnormal: A bat flying and flying and flying and flying during the day.

That last one? That’s what I’ve got. It’s been flying around and around for about two hours now, in the middle of the day. So not good.

I called the county health department’s rabies hotline, and the nice lady said it will be dead within a few days. If you find it dead, double-bag it and put it in the trash or bury it where the dogs can’t dig it up. And, you know, try not to step on it or anything.

It spends a lot of time swooping around the area outside the window on the west side of my home. The one I’m sitting at right now. Eek, there it goes!

Unfortunately I can’t just stay indoors for the next few days. I have to foray out to the chickens at least twice a day, and I’m dog-sitting next door, and also I have a dental appointment tomorrow afternoon to get this giant cavity filled. (At least I get to take some Xanax for that. Hopefully it’ll take the edge off this rabies terror, too.)

Life in the country: not always all it’s cracked up to be.

10 comments to Let’s Talk About Ra-a-bies! Let’s Talk About You And Me!

  • This post reminded me of the rabid dog in To Kill a Mockingbird. Scary. Stay safe.

  • Lisa Eaton

    Be careful!!

  • Mich

    Yeah, I got rabies lessons when we found a momma opossum in our yard. Freezing when caught in the flashlight beam, normal, running at you with a flashlight trained on them, very very bad and you should run

  • Rabies is fascinating in that the virus encodes for proteins that cause the behavior that make its proliferation more successful (can you tell I took a virology class last semester?).

    Also, I would tack that stitch. You can do it almost invisibly, just use a piece of waste yarn to follow the row for a bit, then create a stitch through the dropped stitch. It makes more sense in my champagne-filled head.

  • Jennifer

    Wear a hat and long sleeves and pants when you go out. You’ll probably be OK if you’re careful. Try not to sound like a mosquito? I’m glad your chickies are behind bars.

  • Some dude on NPR today (mmm I think it was Wait Wait) calling in and mentioned that in Oregon there is less food so bats are out in the day right now. Persnaps it is not rabies?
    And heys, looked at yer twitter and what’s with the ring thing in your tooth? Just hope no more pain! Gotta crunch chips.

  • You really should have gotten a better response than “Ignore it until it goes away”, which is basically what you got. Apparently they don’t want to mess with rabies…
    Years ago, we found a possum on our second floor balcony, exhibiting nothing but odd behavior – daytime, it had climbed a long flight of steps to get there, it was drooling, and ignored us when we yelled and pounded on the door trying to scare it away. We made a call to Animal Control, and were told not to worry – that ‘possums don’t get rabies.’ Excuse me? I think not…

  • Erika

    KellyS, interesting, I’ll have to listen to that! It can’t possibly be the case out here, though. We have enough mosquitoes and moths to last a million bats a million lifetimes!

    It was just a bad cavity being filled. They left me for a minute, and I couldn’t resist snapping a pic for posterity!

    Gayle, I know what you mean… but there really isn’t anything to be done with it, it’s just flying around out in the yard. The rabies lady even mentioned you could try shooting it, but that’s pretty much impossible.

    I haven’t seen it today yet, so I think it might be dead.

  • The safest course of action is to play Sims until the bat goes away.

  • Lisa Eaton

    Now that your rabies crisis is over, I can recommend this episode of This American Life (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/319/and-the-call-was-coming-from-the-basement). Act One.