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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Life in North Queensland Drives You Batty.

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“Look! A little bird’s flown in,” commented Scotto, as we sat in front of the telly, watching My Kitchen Rules and eating our lovely dinner.

"It's supposed to be a sign of good luck when a bird flies in your house," I gushed.

The cute bird flew around and around the room, circling the ceiling and narrowly missing the fan.

“Actually, it’s not a bird, it’s a bat,” Scotto corrected himself.

He was right. It was a bat, a horrid, furry, black thing with sharp teeth, fluttering in panic around my lounge room.

I suspended my gastronomical endeavours, fork halfway to my mouth.

“Should we do something?” I asked. “Don’t they carry myxomatosis or something?”

“No, that would be rabbits,” Scotto replied, taking a leisurely swig of his beer. “Rabbits get myxomatosis.”

"Is that why they built the rabbit proof fence," I asked. "Was it to keep all the infected rabbits away from the healthy rabbits?"

"Shoosh," Scotto silenced me. "I'm trying to watch MKR."

“Ebola!” I squealed dramatically. “We’ll both be infected with Ebola.”

“There’s no Ebola in Australia, Pinky,” he eyed the creature which was casting a sinister, fluttering shadow on the wall.

“They definitely carry a disease like rabies,” I insisted. "I read about it on Buzz Feed. Lyssavirus! And another disease where they wee on horses or something. Horses catch it all the time.” I pulled my plate closer and shoved in a forkful of lasagne before it was wee-ed on from above.

“Hendra!” I gave a triumphant flourish. “It’s called Hendra virus!”

“I think you can only get it if a bat scratches or bites you,” Scotto turned the telly up. Pete and Manu were about to give their scores.

“That’s bollocks, Scotto,” I choked indignantly. “People can catch it from a frickin horse sneezing on them.”

The leathery-winged creature continued to orbit the ceiling fan. It looked a bit rabid to tell the truth. I thought I could see some froth dribbling out of its mouth.

“Don’t look up at it,” I cautioned. “If its saliva gets in your eyes you’re pretty much cactus. I’ll have to take you to the ER for a series of rabies shots and even that doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive.”

“I’m more worried about it pooping in my food,” Scotto was shovelling his lasagne down faster than the blood pumping through my jugular vein which I was sure the bat was going to dive down and puncture at any minute.

“Should we catch it with a net,” I asked tentatively, “and release it back into the wild?”

“We don’t have a net,” Scotto grunted.

“Could we throw a sheet over it?” I enquired hopefully. “It’s illegal to kill them you know.”

The bat must have heard me making threats because it suddenly flew back out the window and home to roost.

It must have used its echolocation. I wish I had echolocation. I could go to the loo in the middle of the night without turning on the light and waking myself up.

I hope I didn’t catch Lyssavirus. I didn’t touch it but I think maybe its frothy mouth dribbled into my lasagne when I wasn’t looking. I won’t know for about three to eight weeks apparently. Then it will only be a few days of illness for me before delirium, coma, then… death.

At least it will be quick.

How do you feel about bats? Ever had one in your house?