Creepy critters invade Caroline Hall

By SARA WEINHOLD

Bats flying through the air and mice scurrying across the floor might be fun in a haunted house, but for residents of Caroline Hall, there’s nothing funny about it when it happens in a place they call home.

“In any old building there is going to be problems with animals,” said Ari Everts, resident assistant on the fourth floor. “Currently, our visitors are bats and mice.”
According to Everts, there have been two bats on campus this year, one in the residence hall and one in the Alumnae Dining Room.

Amy Bukvich, a summer resident in the dorms, encountered the winged creatures in her room.

“One night, I was hanging out with friends in the student lounge,” Bukvich said. “I went back to my room for my laptop charger and came face-to-face with a bat flying in circles around my room, screeching. I then noticed a second bat clinging to my window.”

Bukvich concluded the bats came in through her window after she removed the screen. She slammed the door shut and ran down the hall for help. With help from a friend, they were able to keep the door closed and shoo the bats out the window.

These events have been unsettling for resident Emily Mcllree, who tried with the help of friends to catch a mouse in her dorm room.

“It [the mouse] scurried toward one of my friend’s feet, hopped onto her slipper, and was promptly kicked off,” Mcllree said.

After a few failed attempts to catch the mouse, she called the RA who again tried to help her. With no success, the RA called maintenance, who set up traps in the room. It was not until she smelled the mouse’s decaying body that she realized it got caught in one of the traps.

“As if that’s not unsettling enough, I found its feces all under my bed and in a box containing my sketchbooks,” Mcllree said.

Stacy Stuck from Advanced Wildlife Control in Milwaukee explained if the animals are coming through a door that has been propped open, removal can be done without professional help. Removal should be done carefully and with caution to ensure safety of those trying to catch the animal. Bait boxes filled with poison can be placed around the perimeter of the building to prevent mice from entering the building.

Aside from the nuisance and the mess, there are plenty of other concerns with these rodents living in the residence hall.

“While not all bats have rabies, they should be treated as if they do,” Stuck said.

According to the Center for Disease Control, Histoplasmosis, another disease associated with bats, is caused by inhaling spores of a fungus associated with the droppings of both bats and birds. Histoplasmosis primarily affects the lungs but can affect other organs as well and be fatal if left untreated.

While most people would not want bats in their home, there are benefits to having the critters around outside.

“Bats eat their weight in bugs every night,” Stuck said.

Even with this added benefit from the bats, residents are hoping for no more encounters.

“The maintenance team is working diligently and as quickly as possible to bring the situation to a close,” Everts said. “Hopefully, the problem will be resolved very quickly.”

Some residents are skeptical of the resolution.

“I don’t think this is over, yet,” Mcllree said.

SIGNS OF HISTOPLASMOSIS:

  • Fever
  • Chest pains
  • Dry cough
  • Joint pain

Symptoms start 3-17 days after exposure.

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