So my wife called me on the phone the other day as I was at our neighbor's house. She was, in her own words, freaking out because she had done some laundry, removed said laundry from the washing machine, and later reached into the machine only to have her hand brush up against something brown, furry, wet and squeaky. Mouse? Rat? Bat?
A small brown bat had survived a laundry cycle (the lid left open between loads), but wasn't happy. She was lying face-down on the bottom of the basin, one wing spread to the side, one held against her. Her head was tucked under the agitator.
I got some barbecue tongs and a paper bag. When I first tried to pick her up, she raised her head out (actually relieving me somewhat; I had been afraid that it was pinned underneath - I don't know what I would have done then); she showed me her fangs and screeched at me. Wishing I had longer tongs, I tried to pick her up, but noticed that she had locked her hooks into the holes at the bottom of the machine. I had to gently unhook her fingers, then her elbow. After that, she went into the bag pretty easily.
I called one animal rescue who directed me to another, because they apparently don't all truck in bats. One lady who does so runs a rescue out of her house in Cinnaminson, about twenty minutes away, but rather than direct people to her house, she has them meet her in the parking lot of a nearby diner. When you give an animal to one of these organizations, it's generally good to make a donation too, since they usually run non-profit and it costs money to take care of the animals.
This is how I found myself waiting in a parking lot to give some woman I don't know twenty dollars and a live bat. It seemed like some odd drug deal. The woman ran late, reminding me of Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man", where I learned that that's just what dealers do. Get me hooked, maybe make me bring progressively more bats in.
When I gave her the bag, we didn't even open it. I went straight to work, and on the drive home, I thought it would be hilarious if I got a text from her saying "There's no bat in the bag! WTF?!" and then I'd hear squeaking in the car...
Anyway, I talked to the lady two days ago, and not only is our bat healthy - no pneumonia - her wing seems to have only superficial damage. By the time the weather turns warm enough for a release, she should be long-since healed. She's eating mealworms like a champ and trying to bite the rescue lady whenever she handles her, which is apparently a good indicator of bat-health. What's more, based on her weight and how she's interacting with another rescue bat, she's possibly pregnant!
And she's squeaky clean!