Health

Bat Awareness Tips

The following information is provided by
New York State Department of Health

Did you know that

  • Although bats may be helpful to humans by consuming insect pests, some bats are infected with rabies.
  • People and animals can get rabies if exposed to a rabid bat.
  • Rabies exposure includes a bite, scratch, saliva contact to your eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound, or any physical contact with a bat.
  • In some situations, it is possible that a bat bite could go undetected, e.g., when a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person, or a bat is found next to an unattended young child.

What to do if you find a bat in your house

  • If there is any chance that the bat had contact with a person or pet, the bat should be captured and tested for rabies; if the bat cannot be captured, call your local health authority for advice on what to do next.
  • If you are certain that there was no contact with a person or pet (for example, you saw the bat fly in the house and never lost sight of it, close the room and closet doors, open the windows and watch the bat until it leaves.

Rabies post-exposure treatment should be considered if the bat

  • Is found to be rabid;
  • Is not available for testing;
  • Was un-testable;

AND

  • There was known physical contact with a person;

OR

  • There was a reasonable probability of exposure, e.g., a bat in the room with or a bat found on the ground next to:
    • an unattended young child;
    • a sleeping individual;
    • a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
    • a person with other sensory or mental impairment.

To capture a bat

  • Turn on room lights and close the windows.
  • Close the room and closet doors.
  • Wait for the bat to land.
  • Wearing gloves, place a coffee can, pail or similar container over the bat.
  • Slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat.
  • Firmly hold the cardboard in place against the top of the container, turn it right side up and tape the cardboard tightly to the container.

After the bat is captured

     If there was any chance that contact with a person or pet occurred, or you are not sure if contact occurred, DO NOT release the bat. Call your local health authority to arrange for the bat to be tested for rabies.

     If there was not chance of contact or exposure with a person or pet, take the covered container outside and release the bat outdoors, preferably at night and away from human populated areas.

If you encounter a bat outside your home

     Avoid contact with a sick or dead bat on the ground. As soon as a grounded bat is found, it should be isolated to prevent further contact with people and animals. If you can isolate the bat, cover it with a pail, coffee can or similar container and place a heavy object such as a brick or rock on top of the container to secure it. Call your local health authority to arrange for the bat to be tested. If you cannot isolate the bat, call your local health authority for assistance.

Local Health Authority: Genesee County Health Department

Daytime Telephone: (585) 344-2580 x5569

After Hours Telephone: (585) 343-5000