Bat Infestation Forces Kentucky School To Shut Down

By Sherah Janay Ndjongo

September 13, 2023

common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) a small bat
Photo: Getty Images

Wright Elementary School faced an unexpected challenge when a bat infestation disrupted their regular school activities.

To ensure the safety of the students, Shelby County Schools made a decision to temporarily relocate the elementary students to Southside Elementary while they address the issue of bats taking up residence.

As fall progresses in Kentucky, the likelihood of encountering bats in homes increases, according to Mammalogist and EKU Professor Dr. Dodd. He explained that Kentucky's moderate climate makes it an attractive habitat for bats seeking winter shelter.

Bats are typically most active from March to November, and during this time, they search for suitable hibernation spots, sometimes leading them into unexpected places like schools and homes. Dr. Dodd clarified that in such situations, the bats are usually accidental intruders.

Kentucky is home to 16 documented bat species, with four of them being endangered.

While bats can carry diseases, including rabies, Dr. Dodd encouraged people to handle these situations with care, emphasizing the need to guide the bats out gently.

He advised avoiding close contact, opening windows with screens removed, closing doors and contacting Kentucky Fish and Wildlife or animal control for professional assistance in bat removal to ensure the safety of both humans and the animals.

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