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BAT TAKES BITE, BUT BOY HAS NO FRIGHT

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An 8-year-old northern Utah boy was more curious than frightened when a pain in his foot awakened him and he plucked a bat from under the covers.

But the bat proved to be rabid, and now McKay Harris is undergoing the five-shot preventive treatment."He was just as cool as ice," said his mother, Heidi. "He was very brave."

The bat apparently crawled in McKay's unscreened bedroom window on Friday night and settled under the covers of his bed.

McKay went to bed at 9 p.m. At about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, he felt a pain in his foot - no worse than a bee sting - and woke up.

He said he loosened its grip on his toe, pulled it off, looked at it and threw it on the floor.

"It felt like a big hair ball," McKay recalled Monday. "It felt like a little mouse."

He also felt the wings. "They were really thin. There wasn't much skin on them." And one wing was torn. "It had a big old hole in it," he said.

McKay ran upstairs and told his parents, who found the creature flopping on his bedroom floor, screeching and hissing.

McKay's father, Victor, caught the bat in a pitcher and treated McKay's wound. The next day, the bat was found to have rabies, and McKay began the series of shots.

John Bailey, director of the Bear River Health Department in Logan, said about a dozen people at most have been bitten by bats locally in the past decade, and the bat that bit the boy was only the second to be found rabid.

Heidi Harris, meantime, said the experience hasn't changed McKay's love of animals and bugs.

"We haven't installed in him a fear of creatures," she said. "I think for that reason, instead of it being a terrifying experience, it turned out to be novel one. It's a feather in his hat."