HOUSTON - Multiple bat colonies with hundreds of bats were reportedly discovered at the Metro Greenway Apartments in Upper Kirby. One of those bats ended up inside the bedroom of one resident's home.
Nicole Standly has lived at Metro Greenway for 4.5 years.
“This bat comes out of nowhere and swoops down on the cat and me,” Standly said.
In the middle of the night, tucked under her covers for protection, Standly managed to capture cell phone video of a bat circling around the ceiling fan in her bedroom.
“I was kind of horrified,” Standly said.
Standly said she grabbed her cat who had swatted its paw at the bat and left the premises.
Her veterinarian ordered her cat to be quarantined for 45 days out of precaution.
Houston Bat Removal came to capture the bat, which, fortunately, tested negative for rabies.
However, upon further inspection, the company’s owner, David apparently discovered at least three bat colonies living within a portion of the building's walls - including Standly’s unit.
“They identified a bat colony in my wall,” Standly said.
David identified those types of bats as free tails and estimated the number of bats in a colony to range anywhere from 500-2,000.
“I can confirm three other locations but we haven’t inspected the back of the building or the sides. When we do a job like this we literally have to go up and down every square inch of the building from the exterior, so there’s a lot more information to be collected before we could produce something for them,” David said.
“We contacted the property management and they didn’t want us to inspect any more of the building or come up with a proposal for them,” David continued.
David said bats colonies living with buildings is actually relatively common. He’s worked in the Houston area for 14 years and done work with a number of strip malls and city buildings.
“There's nothing the bats do to get in the building. It’s all existing defects. Bats are mammals just like you and I, so they can’t chew into anything. That’s not how they make their entrance points. They actually hear the air pushing out of the building, the same way you'd hear a tea kettle and that’s how they find their way into the buildings,” David said.
Standly’s attorney, Bob Schwartz filed a lawsuit against Metro Greenway 10 days after the bat sighting, claiming management ignored her numerous requests for help.
“It’s not the bats that are the problem. It’s not being bitten by a bat that I would be worried about. It’s the exposure to the guano and that is what Ms. Standly is having the problem with -- the problem with what her illness is linked to,” said Bob Schwartz, Standly’s attorney.
Standly said she's always struggled with respiratory issues and the typical medications weren't helping. She worries her concerns could be linked.
“I couldn't breathe really. My coughing was like cement in my chest,” Standly said.
Schwartz says more residents have now come forward with alarming concerns.
“We received a call from a young man who was bitten by a bat on the property. So everybody’s coming out of the woodwork so to speak,” Schwartz said.
“They wouldn’t allow a bat on an airplane. They would be doing something really quick. So I expect the same thing for where I live,” Standly said.
Standly said she has not been back to her apartment since January 19th, when she first spotted the bats. She does not plan on resigning her lease with Metro Greenway.
Metro Greenway sent out a lengthy notice to their residents that said,
“Approximately two weeks ago, a resident informed us she witnessed bats in her unit. Since that time, we have consulted our own expert to determine where these bats came from and how they may have entered her unit as this was the first report of such nature. After investigation, our expert informed us that there may be a few bats that have found their way into the building structure. He believes that the “thousands” of bats reported on the news story is highly exaggerated. The vendor who was originally engaged to remove these bats indicated to us that she had left her patio door open and after investigating, we believe the bats may have unintentionally came through her open door. We are working with our expert to determine a best course or action to humanly assist the bats to a new home.
According to the Bat World Sanctuary, the increase of human expansion has resulted in the loss of habitat for bats, forcing them to find alternative roosts to live. This is likely how they lost their way and recently found a home at our building. Also, according to Bat World Sanctuary, bats are clean, gentle and intelligent animals that enhance our lives in many ways. The bats found on site are insect-eating bats and their eyesight is very good, so they will avoid humans if possible.
From the facts we have gathered and information from our expert, we have no reason to believe anyone is in danger because of the presence of the bats. Again, we are working diligently to find them a new home. In the meantime, we suggest if you see a bat on the ground, do not pick it up and to call management as soon as possible. As a reminder, we would always suggest keeping your patio screen door closed to keep out all types of bugs, birds, bats, etc. that can accidentally find their way in.”
FOX 26 reached out to Metro Greenway for additional comment, but have not heard back.