WALTON COUNTY, Ga. - A local family discovered bats living in their home and the health risks that come with them.
Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri went to Walton County, where wildlife specialists were keeping busy Monday.
Greg King, with Trapper Jack Wildlife, said typically, bats like to stay in caves, but sometimes they decide to make a house their home. He said gaps as small as an inch wide can lead to bats getting in, like the area underneath a vent.
King went looking for bats in the attic of a Walton County home. He pointed out small openings that should be sealed off to keep bats out.
Homeowner Chris Tolle said he and his wife, Misty, heard strange noises while lying in bed at night. So, he went upstairs to investigate.
“It was moving around in between the rafters. It was just moving back and forth and then it spread its wings and I was like, ‘Holy crap,’” Tolle told Viteri.
King also showed Viteri video of several bats flying out of another home in Covington. Pictures showed bat feces covering a child's high chair and bouncer stored in the attic. He said the mess bats leave behind causes the biggest health risk.
“The guano (feces) produces spores that become airborne, and if you breathe them in long enough, you can contract an irreversible lung disease called histoplasmosis,” he said.
Most alarming for the Tolle family is that King said young children are particularly susceptible to the respiratory problems.
“We definitely want to get that taken care of because we have kids,” Tolle said.
While at their home, Viteri spotted the potentially dangerous guano under the area where a bat was sleeping. The Tolles are glad they caught the problem when they did.
King said this is the time of year when most people start noticing bats as they come out of hibernation and start being more active. The next step to get rid of the bat and health risks is sealing off all entry points, except for one. He recommends waiting until the bat leaves to eat and seal up the last opening to keep it out.