Bat droppings causing a big stink in Maitland

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MAITLAND, Fla. —

A smelly problem affecting some residents in Maitland is being caused by bats, officials said.

A colony of bats have made the Maitland Boulevard overpass their home for years, but residents who live nearby told Channel 9 the smell is getting so bad they can't even sit outside in their yards.

Martha Bryant's neighborhood mailboxes are right under the overpass.

"Since the smell is so bad, I'll come twice a week to get my mail. You have to take a bath once you get out of here," said Bryant.

Under the overpass, there are heaps of bat droppings, called guano, which smell like ammonia.

Residents said it's like constantly smelling the inside of a hamster cage that hasn't been cleaned in weeks.

Railroad construction has kept state crews from power washing the area for an entire year, causing the guano to pile up inches thick.

Some residents want the bats gone altogether, but that's not an option as they're protected by law and the process of evicting them would be a long and expensive one.

"You're going to have a lot of homeless bats and where are those guys going to go?" said expert Laura Finn. "The bats are better here than they are spread out all over the place."

Experts said the smell of the droppings isn't harmful.

A spokesman with the Florida Department of Transportation said they plan to power wash underneath the overpass later this week.