Take a good look at the photo above. Can you tell what it is? 

That's what I saw when I got home from work. Right there next to my front door. At first I thought it was just a lump of mulch or dirt that got tracked in to the house, or my dog had an accident. I poked it to see what the consistency was...that's when it hissed at me.

It was a bat.

Yup, you read that right, a real life bat. Yes, it was still alive, and no, I have no idea how it got into my house.

It was clearly seriously injured and (thankfully) didn't start flying around my house, I carefully coaxed it outside, and brought it out to the woods with a shovel.

My biggest concern was obviously for my dog. I called Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, since they're open 24 hours. The doctor I spoke to told me that as long as my dog is up to date on her vaccinations and doesn't seem to be injured, I should be able to at least wait until morning to bring her to her usual vet. He did tell me, however, that I should call my local Animal Control.

The Animal Control officer who I spoke to was very nice and told me that they haven't had problems with bats having rabies in my area, but it would still be good to have my dog checked over. So this morning I called my vet to bring them up to speed and make an appointment right away, they told me that I should also call the Ocean County Health Department.

Surprisingly, I found the little guy right where I left him last night, and figured that he had died during the night. Imagine my surprise when I started to pick it up with a shovel and it once again hissed at me. So at this point, I'm feeling terrible for putting the poor thing through even more stress and fear, but the Health Department did tell me that it was important to bring in "the specimen" to be tested, or they would have to quarantine my dog. So I carefully picked it up and put it into a plastic container.

Photo by Justin Louis

At this point, the Health Department will send it to the state lab to test it for rabies and get back to me. Thankfully, my dog was up to date with her shots, but they gave her a full checkup and a rabies booster just to be safe. I'll tell you what though, it was a heck of a way to spend my night last night and morning this morning!

Do keep in mind - if you see an injured animal or one that is acting unusually, you should call your local Animal Control office and let the Ocean County Health Department know. And of course, you should never approach the animal, handle it with your bare hands, or let your pets near it.