Full Circle: Adventures of Batman
A story you just won’t believe

So we sold our house in one day. Life was good. And then came the second day.

Another buyer was interested. “If the first deal falls through,” he said, “I’d like to buy it.”

Great. “Just one thing,” he said. There’s always just one thing. “You’ll have to fix the mess in your attic.” Mess? “Looks like you’ve had a bat or two up there, and they’ve left their droppings all over the place.” Bat?

Ruh-roh. We tried to remain calm. We called the guy who had inspected the house for termites. “Bats?” he said, “No, I don’t do bats.” He gave us the number of a bigger exterminator. They sent three guys out. They looked in the attic. They came down. “Not for us,” they said. Well, then what do we do? “You should call this guy from Pitman. He’s the Bat Man.”

Bat Man? I called. “Sure,” Bat Man said, “I can clean that. There’s only one problem.” There’s always one problem. “If I see a bat up there, I can’t touch it until August. Believe it or not, that’s a law in New Jersey.” August? This was June. We would lose both our buyers. We would have to take the house off the market. Why August?

“Bats are a protected species in New Jersey. This is their mating period. You’re not allowed to touch them while they’re, you know, mating.”

OK, time for my mother to come in, wake me up and tell me I’m late for school. This can’t be for real.

But it is. It’s N.J.S.A. 23:2A-1-13, which makes it illegal to “harass, hunt, capture, kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture or kill wildlife.” And bats are now considered wildlife. A protected species. Humans aren’t a protected species. But bats, they’re too valuable. They help the ecosystem by eating insects. But so does a can of Raid.

So, forget killing them. The law says that you can’t even capture a bat between May 1 and July 1 (their nursery colonies are active) and from October 15 to March 31. That’s when they “overwinter in buildings.” My in-laws used to overwinter in buildings. They had a condo in Fort Lauderdale.

I asked Bat Man if there were any exceptions. Bat Man made a call to Trenton to see if he could get an exception for us. Trenton said no. “They say ‘no’ to everyone,” Bat Man said. “I tried to get an exception for a nursing home once. These poor old folks, who had trouble breathing anyway, now had to breathe in the toxic fumes of all the bat poop for months.”

That’s the great thing about New Jersey. We can’t get across the GW Bridge, but our elected servants can pass laws to protect bats.

OK, let’s back up here a minute. Aren’t bats the filthiest of animals? Can’t you get rabies from bats? Didn’t 55,000 people die last year from rabies? The bat protectors will tell you that not every bat carries rabies. Right, and not every Jew eats bagels. But, come on.

Just as toxic as a bat bite is the bat poop they leave behind. If a bat is present in your attic, you can’t even clean up the bat poop. And it gets worse. Along with the risk of rabies, bat poop or guano carries the spores for histoplasmosis, a

TB-like disease affecting the lungs of the elderly and the very young.

Well, we are now officially the elderly. And our grandkids are the very young. We couldn’t even have them over while this was going on.

But, in the end, we were lucky. Bat Man arrived in his spacesuit and did not see a bat. So, we were allowed to clean the mess up. And $5,000 later, our attic was spotless. Our house was a showplace. “The new owners have the peace of mind of knowing everything is clean as a whistle,” Bat Man said.

With that, he took off his mask, walked to his mobile unit and sped away. Like a bat out of hell.

May 2014
Related Articles

Comments are closed.


Get SJ Mag in Your Inbox

Subscribe for the latest on South Jersey dining, weekend entertainment, the Shore and much more - sent directly to your inbox.

* indicates required
Email Format
WATCH NOW: Millennials looking for Mentors