Brave students box bothersome bat

MJ Johnson

Students heroically catch a bat who evaded capture from UPD and Animal Control for two weeks in student housing 

A bat was caught Sept. 7 on the sixth floor of Towers student housing after bothering residents for two weeks despite numerous attempts by the University Police Department and animal control to catch the evasive beast.  

The bat was finally captured when several student residents were successful in trapping it under a cardboard box. They called animal control for its removal from the building. The bat is being tested by the San Francisco Health Department for rabies. 

“We noticed it had a torn wing,” said Bree Bice, a freshman resident on the sixth floor, who aided in the capture of the bat. “We didn’t want to hurt it, so we looked up the best way to capture a bat.” 

The UPD was called to the sixth floor twice within a two-week span. Residents first noticed the bat several days after move-in day in late August. Bice said during the day it would likely sleep in the trash room and at night it would fly around the hallway, brushing past residents’ heads. 

After the first inspection on Sept. 6 at 9:41 p.m., UPD left without removing the bat and called animal control, Chief of Police Reginald Parson confirmed. When animal control initially arrived, they left without finding the bat. 

But the bat appeared again and frustrated students called UPD for a second time. 

“They barely even checked anything,” said Anna Rose MacMillan, a junior and resident in Towers. “It’s really disconcerting.” 

On the second visit, Friday, Sept. 6 at 11:28 p.m., UPD managed to trap the bat in the trash room and put up a sign that read “Don’t open door — bat inside,” but it escaped from the trash room some 15 minutes later, according to Bice and MacMillan.

“There was no sense of urgency from UPD,” Bice said. Bice and other student residents, like MacMillan and Edward McDonald, began joking that the bat would never leave. They affectionately referred to the bat as “Bongo,” “Bruce” or “Edward from Twilight” in a group chat for sixth-floor residents. 

Finally, students decided to take matters into their own hands. On Friday night, five student residents camped in the hallway overnight with a box and a blanket to catch the bat. At 3:30 a.m. they were successful after several attempts to trap the bat under the box.  

“We literally had to catch the bat ourselves,” MacMillan said. “We had a wild animal that could’ve had rabies. It was a liability for everyone in the building. So it’s very disappointing to know we can’t rely on them [UPD and animal control] anymore.” 

San Francisco Animal Care and Control said the animal was euthanized and sent to the San Francisco Health Department to test for rabies and other diseases. Results for those tests will likely be returned a week from Sept. 7. If those tests return positive, the residents of the entire sixth floor should consider being tested and treated. 

“Bats are the only land mammal in San Francisco that carries rabies,” said Capt. Amy Corso of SF Animal Care and Control. “Rabies is typically transmitted from a bite, but sometimes it’s through contact with saliva.”  

Although no students reported being bitten by the bat, several students like McDonald and Bice said the bat brushed past them while flying by. 

“It’s a little scary,” Bice said. “Looking back, this could have been really dangerous for us, even without the chance of rabies. Students had to take it into their own hands, and that’s disturbing.”