UF bat house collapses, thousands left homeless
Thousands of bats left homeless when the internal structure of the University of Florida Bat House collapsed over the weekend may be seeking new homes over a 10-mile radius, UF officials said.
The roosting fins inside the bottom of the structure on Museum Road across from Lake Alice collapsed Sunday, said Ken Glover, UF’s coordinator for pest management services.
Glover blamed the collapse on the sheer number of bats — about 200,000 — and the weight of their urine, which soaked into the wood. There is no sign of foul play or maintenance problems, he said. There is still roosting space higher up inside the house, but up to 100,000 bats that lived there occupied the lower roosting fins, Glover said.
“Portions of the colony may seek other places to occupy, so people should be vigilant and observe the usual precautions, such as never touch a bat on the ground, report such findings to wildlife or pest management professionals, or to UF for advice and assistance,” Glover said.
To report any bat-related problems on campus, call 352-392-1904.
Glover said there is no reason to worry more than usual but simply to be vigilant if people see signs of bats taking up residency in new places.
The bat house was built in 1991, and improved fins were installed in 2005 and 2006. Plans started a few years ago to construct a new bat house.
Donations for a new UF bat house may be sent to the Florida Bat Conservancy at www.floridabats.org.