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Published: Tuesday, 8/29/2006

'Batriculation' increases inside 5 BGSU buildings


BOWLING GREEN - Police officers at Bowling Green State University were busy over the weekend tracking down some flighty suspects.

Bats were reported in five campus buildings over the weekend, from a bat in a dorm room and another in the lounge area inside Dunbar Hall to a bat hanging from a ceiling by the men's room on the third floor of the Mathematical Sciences Building.

"Over the past couple of days, I've heard of probably more bat things than I've heard of in a while," said David Heinlen, safety and health coordinator at BGSU.

He said he had "no idea" what was prompting the invasion. "It's really hard to say."

Brad Espen, director of environmental health and interim Wood County health commissioner, said this is the typical time of year that bats get into houses and other buildings.

However, he is cautioning university officials to bring any bats they catch on campus to the health department for rabies testing if there's a possibility that someone was bitten or if the bat appears to be sick.

If there is a chance someone was bitten but there's no bat to test, that individual may have to undergo rabies shots as a precaution, he said.

"You don't always know if you're bitten by a bat. The teeth marks are so small," Mr. Espen said. "If the bat appears healthy and they're certain there's no exposure, it's OK to release them."

BGSU Police Chief James Wiegand said catching and releasing bats is standard procedure for his officers.

"[This weekend] was probably a little excessive, but we always have bats especially about this time of year," Chief Wiegand said.

Mr. Espen added that he has advised BGSU officials to inspect buildings and chimneys for possible entry points.

"I'm not sure if with the return of students, they're leaving windows open at night without screens. I don't know what the circumstances are," he said.

In addition to Dunbar and the Math Sciences Building, police responded to calls about bats in Anderson, Batchelder, and Darrow halls.

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