Critters

August. Comfortably cool mornings yield to languid heavy afternoons. It’s the month of running the basement dehumidifier non-stop, the month of rampant crabgrass, and the month that marks peak critter season. Unlike our subdivision property in Illinois that served as a backdrop for the occasional, adorable, brown bunny, New Hampshire is an ever-changing landscape of abundant wildlife. We’ve learned to live with our crew-cut hostas, thoughtfully cropped by invisible deer, not to mention the elusive creatures who are eating through the tender leaves of our birch tree and carefully dropping pruned branches for their little ones. We don’t mind the birds nests that appear everywhere, including the palatial avian abode erected on the inverted seat of our stored canoe. Chipmunks, raccoons, even the occasional skunk drop by or decide we are prime real estate for a permanent residence. (Nothing like opening your windows for fresh night air and waking up to Eau d’Horrible in the morning.) We’ve even heard of bear sightings in the area. Live and let live. Then there was the July day I looked up and saw those perfectly circular holes around our attic vent. What could those be? I wondered as I made a mental note to fix the structural damage, adding it to our always robust “to do” list, then forgot about it. No matter — the answer presented itself last Wednesday. With my husband in the hospital recuperating from orthopedic surgery, I was on my own with the morning routine. Coming back into the house with our two dogs, a flash of movement caught my eye in our parlor. It was a critter, and it flew- fast. It’s hard to describe the feeling of panic that overtakes you when self-propelled wildlife is actually within the protective walls of your house. I immediately called David — hospital or not, I needed him.  On his instructions, I opened the front door, held up a broom, and watched this dark creature with a wingspan of at least a foot faultlessly perform low level maneuvers around our first floor furniture before swooping outside. I thought it was a bird who had gotten in by some fluke. Then, the next day, there was another “bird” in the kitchen, then tonight, with my husband home, a third and fourth appeared. “That is a bat,” he said matter-of-factly, on seeing the first. Bats? What? Evidently our attic is housing a bat colony. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe they’ll keep the bears out.

August. The month of calling the local wildlife control company to evict unwanted tenants. In the meantime, I’ll keep the broom handy.flying black bat silhouetted in the twilight sky

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