Auburn University calms worries over bats

AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - There have been several reports of bats near Auburn University's Haley Center and Jordan Hare Stadium, but they pose no serious threat according to Campus Safety and Security.

"They are coming in closer contact with people and so that was the reason that we wanted to send something out," said Campus Safety and Compliance Director Susan McCallister.

In a recent post on their Facebook page, campus security acknowledged the presence of bats and their ability to transmit rabies, but quoted the CDC in saying that these cases are extremely rare.

McCallister said having bats on campus is not a concern, but the concern lies in the bats landing in areas where people often frequent. McCallister also said that generally bats try to avoid people and are actually more afraid of humans than the other way around.

"Bats are going to avoid people naturally. They are more afraid of people than people are of them," said McCallister. "So if you just leave them alone they will leave you alone and there won't be any concern."

McCallister said the bat matter isn't really a bug safety issue. They just wanted people to be aware that they shouldn't try and touch them.

Chris Lepczyk, Auburn College of Forestry and Wildlife professor, wants you to think about the positive impact bats have in our ecosystem.

"What we want to think about bats is they are really important to our ecosystem. They eat lots of insects. So some bats can eat over 1,000 insects in an evening and if you think about that as just what one bat does and how many bats we have in a roost or in a colony, pretty quick we get to thousands and thousands, tens of thousands, millions of insects consumed by bats in a single summer," said Lepczyk. "That's really important for crops, even things like mosquito control. If we can use bats as a natural predators instead of pesticides, that's a great thing for our environment."

Security is asking students not to disturb wildlife and to contact Facilities Work Management if wild animals are spotted in a high traffic area. Facilities Work Management can be contacted at 334-844-HELP.

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