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Bats Cause Concern For Downtown Round Rock Businesses
Austin is home to millions of Mexican free-tail bats, but some have been camping out in Round Rock. Downtown businesses said the bats are a little too close for comfort.
Kevin Lepkowski, owner of AYS Engineering, shares an office building on Main Street with two other businesses, but that is not all that occupies the space. Lepkowski said hundreds, if not thousands of bats, are living in the attic, and he’s even had a close encounter when one flew right by his face.
“We’re calling [animal control] all the time,” Lepkowski said, “probably several times a week, just dead ones on the ground or sick ones that are about to die.”
Lepkowski said during the last three months he started finding numerous bats on the ground right in front of the door.
According to Round Rock Animal Control, in the last five months, 29 bats were tested for rabies in the area around Main Street Plaza, and 22 of those tested positive for rabies.
Morgan Hahn, Round Rock Animal Control Supervisor, said when a bat is found in a public area, they immediately get the bat tested for rabies. Hahn said they can get the results as early as 24-hours.
“As soon as we get there we will impound it and test it for rabies,” Hahn said. “If you see a bat, contact animal control immediately, and do not touch it. The best thing to stay safe is put distance between you and the bat.”
Hahn said the city cannot scare away the bats because they are wild animals and wildlife is hard to get rid of in a native area like Round Rock and Austin.
Kyla Cox works across the street from Lepkowski and said she always sees bats in the allies and hanging on the side of the buildings.
They will swarm your head,” Cox said. “You just see a small dark patch on the building, and when you walk closer you can see it’s a bat.”
Animal Control said if a person is infected with rabies and does not get treatment there is a 100 percent fatality rate.
By Cassie Gallo