Three students rescue a little brown bat from a Liberty light fixture


Olivia Wieseler, News Editor

When you notice a little creature crawling around in one of the lights on your floor while on your way to band practice, the easy thing to do would be to avoid the creepy situation and be on your merry way.  However, for three students in Liberty Hall, curiosity got the better of them, or maybe it was their caring hearts. 

“We decided we should call campus security to try to get it out,” said Connor Essary, one of the students who spotted the incident. 

After contacting campus security and finding out that they wouldn’t be there to handle the situation until morning, the students took it upon themselves to take care of the poor little guy in the light fixture. 

“I think all of us agreed that we weren’t just going to leave it there until morning,” said Job Saunders, another one of the students involved. 

 With that in mind, Connor hopped up onto the stair railing and unhooked the latches on the light.  Shay Brown, the third savior of the little creature, held out her chinchilla ball, and the creature tumbled out of the light and onto the ball, which Shay eventually tucked him into.  

On Sunday, February 11, Connor, Job, and Shay rescued an adult Little Brown Bat from the confinement of a Liberty third-floor light fixture.   

Once the bat, whom they named SpiderBat, was safely out of the light fixture and into Shay’s chinchilla ball, Connor and Job went off to band practice while Shay stuck around with the tiny fella and did some research to figure out what kind of bat he was and how best to take care of him.  She then contacted Katelyn Brinkerhoff, a Buena Vista University (BVU) alum with environmental science background.  Katelyn suggested two options: either release the bat into the wild now, or take him to a rehab center. 

Because of the intense cold over the last few days, Shay decided that taking it to a rehab center would be the best option.  There, the little bat will be taken care of by professionals.   

How the bat got into the light in the first place, though, is one most people are wondering.   

“It could have been the warm weather we had been having lately that brought the bat out of hibernation early,” Katelyn said.   

Once the weather started getting cold again, it was looking for a warm place to hibernate, which is why it went into the cozy nook of the light fixture. 

Dr. Bob Brodman, the Associate Professor of Biology here at BVU, who will be teaching the bat course in a few weeks, had a slightly different hypothesis.  These creatures like confined spaces and tiny crevices, so it was probably hibernating tucked away in the ceiling for a while.  However, when the light was turned on, it woke him up and scared him. 

Regardless of how the bat got there in there, Dr. Brodman confirmed that the students took the best actions they could in taking care of the animal.   

“It really helped they knew someone who knew what they’re doing,” said Brodman. 

Brodman said that small, warm-blooded animals like bats use a lot of energy very quickly.  Many of these small creatures will go into a state very similar to hibernation called torpor, in which they reduce their body temperature in order to preserve energy.  Because the bat came out of hibernation early, it needed food fast. Shay was able to feed it oranges, even though Little Brown Bats usually eat insects. 

After its meal, SpiderBat was picked up by Katelyn Brinkerhoff and taken to the rehab center Orphaned & Injured Wildlife, Inc. in Lake Park, IA.   

Even though he wasn’t around long, SpiderBat made a small impact in the lives of these three students, just as they did in his. 

“I was happy; I saved a life,” Shay said. 

“We were all pretty proud,” said Saunders. “You know, it’s better with the mindset that you rescued something that probably needed help when nobody else really recognized it or nobody else really cared.” 

As for Dr. Brodman, he wishes he could have been there to see it.  “My response [was], ah man, some people have all the luck.”