By the time Claudia Attarian arrived for work at 7:30 a.m.
Thursday, the Alumni Affairs office was aflutter.
"Bat in the building," a sign on the door read.
The housekeeping crew, busy vacuuming the Forlines House offices
in the early morning hours, discovered a bat flying around the rooms.
"This one was very active," said Attarian, a staff assistant. "It was swooping around. The
housekeepers flew out of the building as fast they could."
A housekeeping supervisor returned and isolated the bat in
an office suite. With the bat sequestered, Attarian called in reinforcement:
the Duke University Police Department. Two officers, Andrew Corolla and Ryan
LaDuke, arrived on scene.
"I heard there's a bat," LaDuke told Attarian.
She told him the bat was last seen in a corner of the copy
room. LaDuke, who once had a brush with a bat in his apartment in Michigan, requested
an empty trash can and cardboard box. He cut the cardboard box into sections.
"How big is it?" he asked, then entered the building armed
with a cardboard flap and trash can.
LaDuke slinked through three rooms and found the bat
roosting on a ceiling panel. "It knew I was there because every time I moved
around the room, I could see its ears flex," he said.
LaDuke climbed a chair, raised the trash can over the bat
and against the ceiling and then slid the cardboard flap between the ceiling
and can. The bat dropped into the can, never coming in contact with LaDuke.
"I could feel it rustling around in the can," he said.
LaDuke walked outside with the can.
"I just set it in the grass and let it be," he said. "I
turned around to find seven or eight people staring at me through different