Couple Finds Hundreds of Bats in Attic

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - Imagine living with hundreds of bats right above you in your attic.

That's just what one Knoxville couple has been doing for several months now.

Volunteer TV’s Kim Bedford made the trip up to the attic to take a look.

If you think it's hot outside, imagine being in a 140-degree attic, that extreme heat is what bats are attracted to this time of year.

And they've set up shop in one couple's attic.

"You can hear it almost any time of the day if it's really quiet, but it's just a very high-pitched kind of squeaking,” Colleen Paine says she and her husband have noticed more and more bats flying into their attic over the past several months. "We do see them drop out of the eaves and fly around starting at dusk."

So the Paines decided to call zoologist Paul Osborne in for help.

"We have somewhere around 200 big brown bats up in their attic. The bats do have pups. I came in and did an inspection about two weeks ago,” says Osborne.

But when we went up to check them out Monday, only a few bats remained.

"They were just climbing all over this and you can tell by the amount of guano. There's quite a bit," says Osborne. "It used to be an intact screen."

The colony may have been scared away by our activity or a number of other factors, but even with a few in here the health risk is still very great."

"The guano can be toxic if it's circulated throughout the house. That's not good,” says Paine.

"It can be inhaled and forms a fungus in your lungs,” Osborne adds.

Osborne says he can't remove the bats right now because they're all protected or endangered. "The state has put a moratorium on moving bats between the end of May and about the middle, till end of August."

Once it's time to get them out, Osborne says they have to be very careful. "We'll put a one-way door that bats can exit the residence, but not be able to come back in."

"I have a lot of comments that I should just go up there and kill them instead of going through the waiting period and then the cost of removing them in a safe manner, but they're so helpful. I can't tell you how bad the mosquitos are out here,” Colleen says.

The Paines say one bat actually got down into their home, but they were able to safely get it outside.

Colleen says they don't mind the bats a bit and they actually plan to set up a bat house in the yard once they're removed from the attic.

This is the time of year they're looking for hot shelter to have their babies in.


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