Bat infestation leads to elementary school’s temporary closure

Bats are trying to find places to hibernate for the winter, an expert said.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 11:35 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/Gray News) - Wright Elementary School students have relocated for the week because of a bat infestation in their school.

According to a statement issued by Shelby County Schools, the school has moved elementary students to Southside Elementary as they “navigate the eviction of bats.”

As fall deepens, there is a chance more Kentuckians could be seeing bats in their homes, according to mammalogist and Eastern Kentucky University professor Luke Dodd.

“Here in Kentucky, with this being a fairly temperate kind of middle portion of the United States and North America, this is kind of a home that a lot of bats seek out in the wintertime,” he said.

Bats tend to be most active between March and November, and right now many bats are looking to find a place to hibernate for the winter, leading some of the confused furry flyers into schools and even people’s homes.

“In the instances that we are describing here where somebody gets a bat in their bedroom or like in the regular living quarters of their house, the bat doesn’t want to be there. The bat probably accidentally got there,” Dodd said.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife said 16 species of bats have been documented in the commonwealth, four of which are endangered. And while bats can carry diseases such as rabies, Dodd said he wants to encourage folks to gently guide the bats out of their homes to best protect themselves and the animals.

“The first thing I would say is don’t get close to the bat. Second, I would open up their windows and ensure the screens are out. The next thing is I would close all the doors, and at that point, I would contact Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and or animal control to see if you need someone to come in and remove that bat,” he said.