Due to Sarah Scott’s battle with the bats, parents were ready to remove their children from the school earlier today, worried for the kids’ safety.
Although it’s understandable health risks are a primary concern, bats are notorious for their bad reputation.
For those of you who’ve had bats in your roof, you understand it can leave you feeling a little batty. But the winged rodents aren’t as bad as you think.
“There are a lot of myths associated with bats, one of them being that all of them are rabid and they carry rabies, when in fact only less than half of one percent have rabies,” Amber Slaughterbeck, President of Wabash Valley Audubon Society said.
With a bat infestation at Sarah Scott Middle School, obviously exposing kids to that slight risk is a health and safety concern. So there’s something these students can take away with their temporary relocation.
“This is a wonderful educational opportunity for the school corporation to tell children that bats are not to be afraid of,” Slaughterbeck said.
Shedding light on bat benefits is something Joy O’Keefe, director of Indiana State’s Bat Research Center does every year for the bat festival.
“All of them are insectivorous and they can consume half to all of their body weight in insects every night, which is substantial right, imagine if you ate that many pizzas,” O’Keefe said.
Bats live up to 20 years. They’re dedicated to pest control, ridding insects that harm local crops. It’s important to keep these populations high considering white nose syndrome kills millions of bats around North America every year.
Although the bat that’s likely taken over Sarah Scott is the Big Brown Bat and those populations remain pretty high.
“Historically the Big Brown would’ve roosted in large hollow trees, but we don’t have many of those left on the landscape, so they’ve adapted as humans have taken over the state,” O’Keefe said.
She says the reason these bats have been spotted at Sarah Scott is that typically colonies break up toward the end of the summer to find a winter home. There are safe and humane ways to remove the bats from the school once you determine how they got in.
O’Keefe says the best way to remove bats safely is to staple up a piece of hardware cloth, where you have 3 sides tacked down and the bottom is open. Bats come out of the hole, they go down they get out, they come back later that night to try to come back in and they can’t figure out how to get in their hole.