While neighbors have complained to Wellington about the smell, no one can make the bats move out just yet.

WELLINGTON — A family in one of Wellington’s ritzy enclaves is facing a unique challenge: A bat infestation in their house — at a time of year when they can’t do anything about it.

Neighbors contacted the village’s code enforcement division about the two-story house on Henley Place in the Polo West neighborhood, Code Compliance Manager Steve Koch said.

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They said there was a smell coming from the home, and neighbors have seen bats swarming outside at dusk, Koch said.

The infestation violates Wellington’s nuisance wildlife rules, Planning, Zoning and Building Director Bob Basehart said.

“It’s the feces. It’s a health risk,” he said.

While Wellington sent a code enforcement notice to the homeowner, the village made it clear: The bats cannot be touched right now, Koch said.

That’s because bats are protected by state law during their maternity season, which began April 16 and ends Aug. 14.

Doing anything to force bats out of the house could trap and endanger baby bats, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Once bat maternity season ends, the homeowner has until Aug. 31 to boot the bats from their home, Wellington said.

When reached by The Palm Beach Post last week by phone, the homeowner declined to comment.

A neighbor who spoke with The Post on condition of anonymity said he had seen the bats for about two years coming from the home’s roofline.

“There is a smell,” said the neighbor, who lives several lots away from the house with the bats. “It smells like manure would smell.”

At night, the neighbor has seen 50 or 60 bats at a time flying together.

Once bat maternity season is over, the bat removal process allowed by the state is specific: The bats can be “evicted” only by a licensed nuisance wildlife trapper. They cannot be killed and can’t be harassed using lights or sounds.

This isn’t the first time Wellington has dealt with a home infested with bats, Koch said.

“We’re so close to the Everglades, you’re going to have bats,” he said.

And the problem can get bad, fast. Bats — like rats and mice, though they’re not related — can fit through a hole as long as they can get their head through first, Koch said. Once one bat finds a nice, warm spot to set up shop, more are bound to follow, he said.

kwebb@pbpost.com

@kristinawebb