The Iowa Senate’s day began with a flying mammal, a scream and a catch-and-release effort.
Nancy Courtney screamed when she opened a door on the Senate floor and saw a bat flying around the area behind the Iowa Senate chamber. Courtney works as a secretary for her husband, Senator Tom Courtney.
“My son was bitten by a bat when he was 10 years old and back then he had to go through all the shots, so I know what can happen and they are frightening,” she told Radio Iowa. “They just are.”
According to Mike Marshall, the secretary of the senate, it all started at about 8:45 this morning as the bat flew from the first floor rotunda, then up the stairway area to the back of the senate.
“There were some reactions to some swooping,” Marshall said, with a laugh.
The bat was corralled on a back stairway, “where it was captured alive, taken outside and released,” Marshall said.
Eric Bakker, an aide to the Senate Majority Leader, was one of the three men who captured the bat.
“We got it in an area where it continued to fly until it just got tired, and then it dropped,” Bakker told Radio Iowa.
The bat — which had a wing span of about a foot — was captured in a plastic bag, taken outside the statehouse and released. It is, of course, against the law to kill a bat as most are protected species.
The facilities manager for the capitol building said in the 30 years he’s worked at the capitol, this is the first time a bat has flown in areas of the building where people work and congregate. However, there have been bats in the basement of the capitol, which is not accessible to the public, and bats have been found flying in the dome.