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Home on Lyttleton street ‘welcomes’ new residence

Posted: June 13, 2013 3:58 p.m.
Updated: June 14, 2013 5:00 a.m.
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The Lyttleton street home of Mary Goodman where the bats have taken up residency in the attic.

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By FRASER SPEAKS

C-I (Camden, S.C.) Localife editor

fspeaks@chronicle-independent.com

 

Downtown Camden home owner Mary Goodman and house caretaker retired US Army Colonel Steve Richards recently became aware of a few new residence in their home on Lyttleton street.

Richards said a few weeks ago some downtown neighbors called to their attention the new additions.

"You’ve got bats pouring out of your attic!" Richards said the neighbors told them.

Sure enough, Richards said that upon walking outside they saw them too -- more than 100 bats flying around in the backyard.

Soon after, Richards put in a call to the Kershaw County Clemson Cooperative Extension to inquire what could be done about the furry creatures.

"They told us there’s not a lot you can do," Richards said.

Richards was told that due to the fact that the breed that was now inhabiting the home are on the decline, nothing could be done about them until September when their breeding season is complete.

The breed of bats borrowing the Lyttleton street home are a variety known as "little brown bats" and Richards said there are around 150 currently in the attic, but that number will increase as they continue breeding.

The bats are predicted to have around two litters before September.

Richards and Goodman put out a bid looking for able bodies to fix their bat problem when September rolls around. Richards said that they heard from two options. One option, he said, was a method in which the attic would simply be completely sealed up so that the bats couldn’t get back in after returning from their nightly feeding.

Richards said they decided not to go with that option because then the bats could still seek refuge in someone else’s house giving them the same problem.

Richards and Goodman decided to go with Wildlife Specialist Tony Watford come September to evict the bats from the home. They chose Watford because of his method of removing the bats.

Watford has sealed up all the holes in the attic that act as venues of entering and exiting for the bats besides the primary one that they use.

In September, Watford will create a funnel for the bats to exit out of and will then take them to another location to release them.

This prevents them from boarding in another person’s dwelling.

Watford said one of the dangers of bats in a residence is the guano, or combination of feces and urine, produced by the bats which can be harmful to humans.

The home that the "little brown bats" have come to call their own was built in 1903 by the McCreight family. Richards said that around ten or 12 years ago the residency changed hands when it was bought back into the family by Dr. Charles McCreight, a professor at Wake Forest University who has since passed away.

Richards ended up at the house after retiring from the Army, teaching high school for around eight years and then becoming a care taker for homes all around the United States.

"I placed an ad in the Chronicle and Mrs. Mary saw it," Richards said.

Since then he has resided in a built-on apartment to the house that Mrs. Mary provided him.

"Her only stipulation was that I adopt a dog," Richards said.

Goodman said she hopes to make other homeowners aware that bats could take up residence in their own homes.

Though Richards and Goodman are essentially stuck with the attic occupiers until September, for now they enjoy the "Bat-a-rama" the bats put on every dusk and dawn with neighbors and of course a few glasses of wine.

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