New Jersey church orders bats in their attic to leave

The bats in the attic of a historic church in New Jersey are being evicted.

The creatures have made Tranquility United Methodist Church in Green Township their bat cave for years.

But church officials have wanted to do something about them since replacing a porous slate roof damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and Hurricane Sandy, the Newark Star-Ledger reported Sunday. The new roof trapped many bats, killing them. The 200-year-old church then postponed a restoration project to search for a new home for the bats.

The Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is hoping to move the bats to five bat houses being constructed behind the historic church.

More than 350 bats streamed out of the attic to forage for mosquitoes on a recent summer evening.

“The population is as old as the church,” MacKenzie Hall, a biologist with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, told the Star-Ledger. “This colony of bats eats a quarter-ton of insects a year.”