Bats at Chiles High School to stay until Warmer Temperatures

Posted at 7:38 PM, Feb 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-20 19:38:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--It was a scary sight at Chiles High School in Tallahassee after the discovery of hundreds of bats on the school's campus. 

The presence of the bats prompted concerns about rabies to students and faculty who were exposed to the animals.

Wildlife officials estimate there were more than 300 bats on one of the buildings on the campus of the school, where the animals made a home in a small hole in the bricks of the buildings. 

Blackthumb Wildlife Services was at the school Friday afternoon to help rid the campus of it's hundreds of new visitors. 

The crew created a one way exit tunnel for the bats, meaning the creatures can exit their new home under the school's roof,

but they can't get back in. However, cold temperatures put a hold on the crew's work. So for the next few days the bats are there to stay.

The owner of Blackthumb explains, "It takes a lot of energy to fly and mosquitoes and insects are their main diets. When it's really cold those things aren't out. So if they're flying around they don't have any energy. Just like you running, you're going to get tired and wear out. They kind of have to hunker down and almost hibernate while it's cold like this," said Jay Ammerman.

Blackthumb says it needs to be a period of about 4 to 5 days of warmer temperatures before they are able to remove the bats safely through the flutter valve.

Ammerman adds the tiny hole in the building is just a glimpse into the amount of bats that can actually fit inside. He says a bat's average size is no bigger than a thumb.

Blackthumb tells ABC27 handling these animals should be left to the professionals because of health risks, including histoplasmosis, an upper respiratory disease, and of course rabies.