A total of 83 bats were rescued and later released Tuesday after being found behind an outside mural at a home in Menlo Park, according to the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA.
Workers gearing up to power wash the home removed a mural of St. Francis — the patron saint of animals — when they spotted the Mexican free-tailed bats nesting, according to the PHS/SPCA.
Some of the bats fell to the ground when the mural was removed, prompting the workers to call animal officials.
PHS/SPCA employees scooped up the creatures, gave them extra oxygen and placed them inside incubators to help the animals warm up. The bats were released back into the wild Tuesday evening, and many of them decided to fly back to the mural.
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"The irony of these bats being found behind a mural of the patron saint of animals was not lost on us," PHS/SPCA’s Communications Manager Buffy Martin-Tarbox said in a statement. "We are grateful for the workers who alerted us to the bats and we were able to help restore them to full health and return them to the wild."
Mexican free-tailed bats are native to California, according to PHS/SPCA. They check in around 3.5 inches in length and are considered to be medium-sized bats.
Tarbox indicated that Tuesday's mass rescue was a bit odd.
"This is the highest number of bats we have ever received at one time in our Wildlife Care Center," she said in a statement. "On average we receive one bat a month, so eighty-three bats were quite unusual for us."
PHS/SPCA typically helps rehabilitate anywhere from 1,200 to 1,400 animals on an annual basis, according to the organization.