- Aug 21, 2003
- Reaction score
- Chattanooga, TN
Here is the said video of the event. Caution to animal lovers and those affected by violence against defenseless animals.Some TSU students may need rabies shots
By ROSANNA RUIZ
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
Rabies vaccinations could be in order for several Texas Southern University students who recently came in contact with bats at their dorm, state and health officials said Monday.
More than 200 students from the Lanier Hall East were displaced and had to move into hotels over the weekend because of the number of bats discovered at the on-campus men's dorm, said Terrence Jackson, a university spokesman.
Students gathered Monday evening at the student center to learn about the potential dangers posed by exposure to rabid bats. The students were asked to speak individually with the health officials to determine whether they should be vaccinated.
It remained unclear late Monday how many students, if any, would have to receive vaccinations.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. The deadly disease is transferred to people who are bitten by rabid animals. It is also possible for people to get rabies if infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets into their eyes, nose, mouth or a wound.
One student, Jason Smith, 19, said he killed dozens of bats with a tennis racket at the dorm but was not bitten. "Nobody got bit not to my knowledge," Smith said.
But videos on the Internet showing at least two TSU students killing bats with a broom and tennis racket while others watched have health officials concerned.
Now I don't know about you all but I felt this bore enough weight for discussion. The fact that these people (like many others) are so ignorant about their world that when confronted by something like these bats (most likely mexican free-tail bats) they can think of no other response than to try and kill as many as they can because they think they're going to be attacked.
While it's a paradox that very little is known about bats, enough is known about them to say that they're relatively harmless to humans and even beneficial.
I lament this because I am a caver (as well as a MA-ist) and have an affinity for these wonderful animals. I've seen enough of them very very closely and had the opportunity to help a lady nurse a couple back to health. I've studied them (as a layman) enough to know that without them we would have a very difficult time staying outdoors during the night. Think trillions of mosquitoes and other biting flying insects. A single bat can eat 2/3rds of it's weight in insects a night, bats commonly weigh roughly up to an ounce (particularly insectivores... their larger relatives or Fruit Bats can go upwards to a pound or two). Figure the approximate weight in grams of a single mosquito and do the math where X is the weight of the mosquito and 1oz the weight of the bat and 2/3rds being the amount of mosquitoes by volume the bat eats in a single night... then take THAT number and multiply that by an average (large) colony of bats, which can number anywhere between 10,000 to 2 million and well... you get the picture. That's a lot of bugs in one night... every-night.
These guys, it's funny to watch them because they're big burly guys and they're terrified of these little flittermice and they're swinging wildly at them trying to hit them... you can see they're missing more than they're hitting. Sadly however they got lucky a few times.
These bats probably got trapped while temporarily roosting during the day and are simply trying to find a way OUT!
It's ignorance that these guys think they're being attacked, it's stupid to try and kill these creatures that are much smaller than they are and are obviously (if they took the time to observe) not attacking them. It's cruel to bash at them with brooms, tennis racquet's and a wet-floor sign... and in one case a baseball bat.
Now ignorance and fear has folks crying RABIES! When it's known by those who know bats (like moi) that less than 0.01% of bats carry rabies and that generally rabid bats are unable to fly very well or for prolonged periods. A person would most likely be bitten by a rabid bat simply by picking it up than having the animal fly like some sinister kamikaze to a human being.
I'm of course outraged at the video and the subsequent conclusion that the University has come to.
When are people going to learn? Example:
From a health department official. What has she studied to become a HDO? Biology? Microbiology? Zoology? Did she even think to consult bat experts (try batcon.org) to find out a little more? Or was it just general assumption like the students had that bats are harbringers of rabies and other diseases? That they're pests and nuisances?Some of those students may have been exposed even though they were not bitten, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the city of Houston's health department.
"When we saw the video, we knew we had a problem," Barton said.
She added that some of the students may have been "splattered" by saliva.
I'm afraid I'm not seeing the overall picture here and would like to see some discussion from both sides of the fence. However I probably would be strongly biased towards the bats' favor as I know them fairly well and in my years of interacting with them... never had cause to fear them.