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Bats invade another Bay area apartment complex

TAMPA, Florida -- Bats have invaded a Tampa apartment complex, leaving residents worried about their health and safety.

It's the third bat problem 10 News has reported on in the past year and experts warn more could be on the way.

This latest instance is at the Cinnamon Cove Apartments in Tampa. Tenant Michael Green says he's seen thousands of bats, some even inside his unit.

"They're on the refrigerator.  They're on the counter tops," he explained, "they were in the sink in the bathroom."

Green says complex management tried to get rid of the bats by spraying them with bleach and plugging their holes with styrofoam.

But that only pushed the creatures into the units.

"They come out here by the dozen," he said.

Last November, six kids in St. Pete had to be vaccinated for rabies after coming in contact with a bat near an apartment complex.

A few months ago, a tenant was forced to move out of the Lincoln Shores apartment complex in St. Pete because of bats.

Holly Ober, an assistant professor in the wildlife and ecology department at the University of Florida, says there's no way to track if bat populations are increasing. However, she points out it's no coincidence that as development drives out their habitat, the bats are turning to houses, apartments, and office buildings.

"More and more we are seeing bats looking for man-made substitutes for those natural trees that they would otherwise be in," Ober explained.

While bats are valuable in controlling insect populations, just touching them can cause health problems.

In this latest case, tenants are allowed to move to a different unit at no cost. But they tell 10 News that's pointless, because many other buildings also have bats.

"They've got to do something about this," Green said.

Cinnamon Cove management did not want to comment on the situation Wednesday.

Wildlife experts have told 10 News in the past complexes don't like to pay for the proper removal of the bats because of the cost.


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