I love finding critters in the woods. Always have. From the day I could toddle, I was the kid upending a rock to see what would crawl out from beneath. Then I’d catch it, study it, and release it back to its environs. My mom was quite patient with me. So when my boys were growing up, we had a catch and release system where they could catch and hold whatever they wanted for 24 hours, but then they’d have to release it back where they found it.

Hard to believe but in all those years, I never thought twice about going in for a rabies shot when bitten, scratched, or scraped by various creatures. And then I found all these wonderful bats under my deck. Hundreds of them at the most each day this summer and dozens on low volume days. Of course it was the guano that revealed their hiding place to me. Of course being the fiction writer that I am and since I had recently used guano as an explosives fertilizer to get my characters out of a cave in the middle east, I was rather excited about finding such a big cache of the practical stuff.

Anyhooo… I was video taping the bats for you all in my “Sandra Brannan’s Backyard” segments I post on YouTube (please do go watch so at least my efforts are totally wasted http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvpTyX4Cmeg ). And a week later, went out to check on said bats, looked up, and yup… a bat tinkled in my eye.

Apparently 4% of all bats in South Dakota are rabid and with hundreds of bats up there, the doctor was unimpressed by my impassioned defense of the bats as healthy and thriving, not a one of them foaming at the mouth. So I argued that urine is sterile, right? Apparently that argument works if rabies is a bacteria, but it’s not. It’s a virus. If you have heard bats in your attic or have them in your space, you may have an infestation that requires the services of a professional bat removal company such as Covenant WIldlife Removal, so you won’t have to risk getting rabies shots as I did.

So six rabies shots later and two weeks left of my treatment, I have made a mental note to change my behaviors. Nope, not going to stop playing with critters, as that’s the fun part of my day. And the doctor told me now that I have the rabies shots, I can pretty much wrestle a rabid raccoon without worries (my words, not his). No, the behavior I will most certainly change is to where goggles before looking up when seeking out my bats. And mouth will remain closed.

As to the rabies shots? Not so bad. No longer given in the stomach, which helps. But they do make me feel thick and sluggish.

Before and after rabies shots…


Please share your comments with me on your rabies shot experience and whether or not you find this story believable. I need some reassurance that this isn’t the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard a person do… or is it?