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Bat Colony Makes School A Summer Home

The Pickens County School District has hired a wildlife company that's been featured on National Geographic to get rid of a colony of bats that has taken up residence in a school.
/ Source: WYFF4.com

WYFF 4.com

Bat experts are expected to return to Getty's Middle School on Wednesday to see if traps they set to catch some unwanted guests are working.

The Pickens County School District hired a wildlife company that's been featured on National Geographic to get rid of a colony of bats that has taken up residence in a school.

They have just three weeks to get the job done before school starts.

On Tuesday, Wildlife Solutions set the traps around the school.

"They go into whatever place their inhibiting and they just roost in there," said James Burkshire, with Wildlife Solutions.

Right before students moved out for the summer, the winged creatures moved in.

"These animals found an opportunity to get inside the structure and they made it their home," Burkshire said.

Mexican free-tailed bats made the school their summer home.

The district said the animals invaded their heating and air units connected to some classrooms. The habitat's in the back of the school near a wooded area.

Experts have set up buckets that will act as traps.

"What we do is seal up everything except for that main entry or exit point and we create the funnel system which allows them to drop out of the structure into that bucket which is a containment bucket then we can remove and relocate them," said Burkshire.

Once they are out, Burkshire said the bats can't get back in.

They'll be removed and released into another place far away from the school.

"What we try to do is, take these animals to a place that everything is set up for them to survive perfectly as if they were anywhere else," Burkshire said.

While the bats were never exposed to students or staff, Burkshire said it's better to be safe than sorry.

"You want to make sure you remove any potential problems they could have in the future with that animal," Burkshire said.

Even though these buckets are empty now, the experts said they won't stay that way.

"It should only take 'til the end of the week for the bat invasion to go away," Burkshire said.

The experts said there's no way to tell how many bats are in there.

The district said it wanted the process to be efficient, quick and safe.

They said this is the most humane way to get rid of them.

The district is paying Wildlife Solutions about $41,000 for the job, and said they came highly recommended.

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