K-12 EDUCATION

Hundreds of bats discovered and removed from Highland High

Aug 24, 2023, 5:45 PM | Updated: Aug 25, 2023, 9:17 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Students and teachers at Highland High School this week had some extra critters joining them in their classrooms. Hundreds of bats were discovered when students returned after the summer. 

Now the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is working to safely get the bats out of Highland High.

Officials found about 70 bats hanging around the third floor. They found 100 to 150 bats outside and on the roof, according to Shawn Pladas with the DWR. 

Pladas said these types of migratory bats love spaces that mimic caves and cliffs. So an empty school in the summer is the perfect place.

“We kind of have these larger buildings that might imitate some of their natural habitat(s), where it’s cliffs or it’s high trees where they’re trying to get into a higher place,” Pladas said.

It took an outside company working with the DWR one evening to remove all the bats. 

Highland High bats won’t get back inside the school

They also set up devices so any bats left behind will be able to get out of the air ducts, but they won’t be able to get back inside. 

“We went in and looked for any bats that may be in those areas where they’re active classrooms,” Pladas said. “And just made sure that we’re getting those classrooms cleared.” 

The Salt Lake County Health Department is also monitoring two people who work at the school, after they came into close contact with the bats. 

We don’t take any chances with rabies, so even the most minor contact like a bat brushing against you qualifies as contact,” said Nicholas Rupp with Salt Lake County. 

Pladas said there’s no threat from bats, unless someone is scratched or bitten. 

The bats didn’t bite anybody at the school according to both Pladas and Rupp. 

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Hundreds of bats discovered and removed from Highland High