Three bats pay Pres. Miller a visit

Shayla Waugh

Shayla Waugh

A few not-so-welcome guests recently took residence in Woodbine Cottage. President Peggy Miller discovered three bats in the living quarters of her on-campus house during the past few weeks.

“The first bat flew out of the front hall and into me when I went to get the morning newspaper.

“The second bat came flying down in front of me while I was working at my computer in the little sitting room/office next to our bedroom upstairs,” said Miller.

“I ran into the third one when I went into the laundry room to put some dirty clothes in the washer on Saturday morning,” she said.

Miller said there was a possibility that spaces under the eves of the house were not completely sealed when Woodbine underwent recent renovations, allowing space for bats to enter the building.

“The Physical Plant has a team that is covering the openings that were left during construction, putting a cover on the chimney, and closing the openings in the attic that had been used previously for ventilation,” said Miller.

Dean Kattelmann, director of the SDSU Physical Plant, refused to comment on its involvement in the situation.

The $450,000 complete external renovations on Woodbine Cottage were funded with student tuition and fees and included replacing the building’s cedar siding, installing insulation, replacing the front porch, refurbishing the stained-glass sidelights, repairing or replacing windows and landscaping.

“It is unfortunate that bats were found in Woodbine, but this is not an uncommon occurrence,” said Students’ Association President Alex Halbach. “I’m sure that the Physical Plant is working very hard to find the problem and get it fixed. I don’t think anyone can really know for sure if this situation is linked to the renovations.”

Scott Pedersen, faculty member in the Biology-Microbiology Department, has studied bats for 25 years and said it is very common for the animals to find their way into homes.

“I have pulled young male bats out of Wenona and the engineering building recently,” said Pedersen. “It is just the time of year when young male bats try to establish a new place to hang out. These young males are not strong fliers and will seek refuge during storms: open garages, windows and ventilation gratings offer good protection from the rain. They then adventure further into the house because they are inquisitive animals and get trapped.”

Pedersen said he usually receives seven to 10 phone calls each week regarding young bats found in private residences.

As far as life at Woodbine is concerned, Miller said she now looks everywhere when entering a room, especially in the corners of the high ceilings. She leaves several lights on, keeps the garage door closed and watches around the outside doors.

“If you encounter a bat, use common sense: open your windows and shoo the animal out of the building without trying to catch the animal,” Pedersen said. “Most bites occur when people make the mistake of catching and/or playing with it.”