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Hundreds of bats close auditorium at Layton High School

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - Sep 27th, 2017 @ 10:23am


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LAYTON — Layton High School officials have canceled events and closed the school's auditorium in an effort to get rid of a large colony of bats.

Professionals removed 400 bats Monday night, but anywhere from 400 to 1,000 more could remain. This comes less than a week after hundreds of bats were found in West High.

"They're everywhere," said Layton student Mailei Muti. "They don't like the kids, because kids are kind of mean. So, they just try to stay out of people's ways."

"The kids are doing a lot of Snapchatting on it and stuff," said another student, Andrew Willis. "They're like, 'Whoa, this never happens in school.'"

"(A bat) was just flying around. The janitor caught it and threw it outside," said student Chase Oyler.

It will take several days, maybe more than a week, to get rid of all the bats, according to Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams.

"We have quite a number of bats in there. We don't know how many. Because of the great number, we've turned to an expert," he said.

Bats, similar to birds, migrate south for the winter, said Melanie Harpster of Animal Removal and Prevention, and these bats found a temporary home in the school. The process to get them to find a new home is not easy.

"Find their entry and exit points. Put in a bat valve, which is essentially a one-way door that lets them fly out but not get back in," she explained. "They're flying around in there. It's warm in there. They're not going out because it's really cold. So, they just decided to fly around in the building."

The process also includes trapping the bats on sticky boards, then releasing them in another area. No bats are killed in the removal process.

The Davis County Health Department is working closely with the school district.

"We are still trying to figure out exactly why these bats are in such (high) numbers at Layton High School," said Dave Spence, the health department's deputy director.

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He said bat colonies are not uncommon.

"They're everywhere. We've seen bats throughout the county, throughout the state."

Two bats have tested positive for rabies in Davis County this summer. Spence said that, also, is not unusual.

He reminded people not to touch the animals.

"If we find any dead bats, if we have any human contact, we need to get them tested to make sure they don't have rabies," he said.

So far, the health department has not tested any of the bats from Layton High, and they don't believe any of the students have touched the bats.

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