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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Bat found under Gonzaga stairwell

    By Alex Svenburg –

    Students found a bat two weeks ago under the stairwell outside the cafeteria. Several students saw the miniature creature stooping against the wall. Senior Danny Diaz was leaving the library on his way to class when he saw the winged mammal “on the wall just sitting there.”

    “I was pretty surprised. It was weird to see a bat just sitting on a wall in the school. I had never seen one up close before; it was honestly really cool. It was almost close enough to touch,” Diaz said. 

    Francisco Gonzalez on the maintenance staff helped deal with the situation. 

    “One of the library ladies, Pam Valerias, called me about it, and I just said, ‘wow, let me send somebody there’,” Gonzalez said.

    A staff from Palm Cleaning Services then went to the stairwell to see what they could do about the bat. 

    “They opened the door to the stairwell to the outside. They found a broom or something, and they tried to move the bat so that it could fly, and it flew outside,” Gonzalez said.

    The discovery of the bat was abnormal and surprising for many people, including Gonzalez, who deals with many of the pests on campus. 

    The small bat is seen in this photo perched along the wall.

    “I’ve been at Gonzaga for 11 years; it’s the first time I’ve seen a bat,” Gonzalez said.

    It is unclear how the bat got into the building; however, the unusual finding is a reminder of the many pests often seen at Gonzaga, namely rats and mice. 

    Librarian Pam Valerias explained how bad the pest situation once was. 

    “[Mice] were everywhere; it just got out of control, and that’s why we had to say you can’t eat in the library. We put out mouse traps everywhere, and within five minutes we had gotten one, that’s how many mice there were,” Valerias said.

    One of the many mouse traps set up in the library.

    Other ‘pests’ are seen around Gonzaga, too. 

    “Besides the rats, sometimes we see a raccoon in the courtyard,” Gonzalez said. “[Birds] build nests. Sometimes they get into the windows, like in the Dooley building because sometimes somebody leaves the window open or something. Sometimes in Kohlmann. Mr. [Alan] L’Etoile told me one time there was a nest up there, one of the birds made a nest in the storage room. We try not to hurt them. What we usually do is open the window and they fly themselves outside.” 

    Pests are seen frequently in parts of Gonzaga, and mitigating their presence is key for the health and safety of Gonzaga’s students and staff. 

    “We have two pest control companies. We have traps all around school, but still it’s a lot of them,” Gonzalez said. 

    Gonzalez explained how students can help prevent the presence of pests at Gonzaga. 

    “When kids see anything, maybe let student services know, let us know, at least let us know what spot or area they see them more so we can at least know which section or area we can put more traps in,” Gonzalez said. 

    Additional ways Gonzaga students and faculty can help mitigate the presence of pests include not eating food in the library and classrooms and throwing away trash as well as any leftover food.


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