The last thing Breukelen Houses tenant Wendy McClarin expected to find in her Canarsie kitchen was a creature whose home is normally a cave or desert – maybe even the attic of a house located deep in Upstate New York.
“One day in October, I was in my kitchen, just cleaning up and something cold suddenly touched my ankle! I looked down and it was a bat!” McClarin recently told the Canarsie Courier in an exclusive interview about her New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) sixth-floor apartment.
Her unit at106-12 Farragut Road doesn’t see much wildlife action, but McClarin believes that the tiny mammal – which she described as the size of a can of soda – found its way in through a gap in her kitchen window.
“I think it may have come in and then went under my fridge. When I scared it off my leg, I trapped it in a towel, called the police and five of them came with this huge cage,” 73-year-old McClarin explained. “It escaped the towel and also went to hide in the living room. I had to call the police back to my apartment to get it. I can’t tell you how scared I was! How are there bats in Brooklyn?”
The mystified resident, who’s lived in Breukelen Houses for over 30 years, said she wasn’t just frightened and shaking because of the encounter itself, she is also being treated for ovarian cancer, which she survived twice thanks to aggressive treatment, and had to take medical precautions immediately after the winged creature came into contact with her skin.
“I rubbed alcohol on my leg, but I still had to get a few injections from my doctor right after – including a rabies and tetanus shot. In addition, I have heart disease and who knows what can happen when an animal like that touches you? That bat was right on my bare ankle, and I was just terrified,” she said.
McClarin, who tried to capture an image of the only mammal that can fly, can’t imagine where the bat came from environmentally. There aren’t many places around the public housing location in the northeast section of Canarsie for the breed to survive. Some might attribute the pop-up of these creepy and macabre species to the growing wetlands and wildlife habitat along Fresh Creek, south of the Breukelen Houses. Residents have also reported seeing everything from raccoons to possums traveling from the creek to the NYCHA grounds (as seen on various occasions at the East 105th Street “L” train station by residents and reported by State Senator Roxanne Persaud).
“There may be bats living among us – Canarsiens need to know,” McClarin said with trepidation.
Future sightings may not be out of the question for residents and the “Bat Signal may mean more Brooklynites have to be ready for the battiest days of surviving the concrete jungle!