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Live bat takes flight on Delta plane

A Northern long-eared bat found in March at

A Northern long-eared bat found in March at Brookhaven National Laboratory (at a time when it should have been hibernating in a cave somewhere). Tests confirmed that the bat had White Nose Syndrome, an illness that has killed off at least one million cave-hibernating bats in the Northeast since 2006. Photo Credit: Tim Green, Brookhaven National Lab

If you thought the long screening process to get on a plane would drive you “batty,” imagine how you’d feel about sharing your trip with an actual winged mammal.

The 50 passengers that flew Delta Air Lines flight 5121 on Aug. 5, 2011 have insight on that as they were witness to a live bat flying around the cabin, mid-flight Wisconsin-to-Atlanta. A passenger managed to record the creature as it frantically fluttered the length of the plane (as well as the screams of fellow travelers) a number of times before finally being snared within a lavatory.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have since reported that baggage handlers working at the Madison, WI, airport (that launched the bat-jacked journey) noted seeing a number of bats – both dead and alive – on the grounds, leading to an investigation to see if  there may be an entire colony in the area. As for the people who were exposed to the animal while on flight 5121, federal officials have determined that none needed to receive any sort of vaccination – good news for sure as bats are well-known to carry rabies and can transmit the virus to humans.

Watch the bat in action:


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