The Foaming Bats of the GSE

By Jessica Teal

The Graduate School of Education (GSE) in Seminary Place on the College Avenue Campus is an old Rutgers building. Like a lot of the old buildings, this one has problems with rodents and bugs. One of the weirder rodents that literally hangs about in the halls of the GSE is the "foaming" bat. On the second and third floors of the GSE, bats have occasionally been see hanging from the ceiling during working hours. Apparently, there are some partially blocked holes and passageways in the ceiling and roof structure that allow the bats entrance. It's not an everyday occurrence, but on occasion, one will get in the building and try to get some R&R in the ceiling of the halls. Unfortunately, I have seen these bats awaken (usually by a shrieking faculty member) and proceed to swoop alarmingly around the halls. All of this is "normal" bat behavior.

There was one time that I encountered a bat hanging near the women's restroom on the third floor and it was dripping something very white and foamy on the floor. It appeared to be coming from the bat's head. It wasn't the ammonia-smelling guano, or whatever you call bat feces, coming from the bat. It was just this big glob of white foam that just kind of dripped down. My first thought when seeing this was "holy sh*t " there's a rabid bat by the bathroom". As I proceeded to run away down the hall, I came across one of the janitors with a small step stool in his hand and a cardboard box. I told him about the bat and said that I was scared that it had rabies and we better call animal control or something. The janitor just shrugged at me and then proceeded to put his step stool under where the bat was, climbed up and sort of quickly smacked the bat into the box. The janitor had what looked like gardening gloves on and he seemed unfazed by the bat's foam. He took the box to the little section of trees near the back of the building and chucked the bat out of the box. I ran away, so I don't know if the bat started flying or just crawled around or what. In retrospect, I think the weirdest thing about this story is the nonchalance of the janitor.


©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005