What to Do If You Have a Bat in Your Home

Late summer and fall is the time of year that bats can sometimes find their way into our houses and apartments. The bats know that cooler weather is coming soon, so they are looking for a good place to go for the winter. Young bats may just get confused and enter your home. The bat that enters your home is not happy to be in the house, just as the person is who finds it. If you have a bat in your home, you need to keep in mind that there is a possibility that it could have rabies.

Human rabies, which is almost always deadly, is rare in the United States. This year in Nebraska there have been 16 cases of animals testing positive for rabies, 12 of these were bats.

Bats have very fine teeth; a person can be bitten while they are asleep and not even know it has happened. Anytime a bat comes in contact (or possibly could have come in contact) with bare skin, there is a possibility that the bat may have bitten you.

Bats found in the houses should not be released outdoors. They should be caught and may need to be sent in for rabies testing. When catching a bat, try not to damage the bats head, so that the brain can be tested for rabies. Safe methods of catching a bat may be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/contact/capture.html.

If you believe you have been bitten or are not sure, contact your doctor and the Four Corners Health Department. Four Corners will assist you in making the decision if the bat needs to be sent in for testing.

If a bat tests positive for rabies, the people who have been in contact with the bat need to have a series of shots. In some cases, if the bat is let go or is too damaged for testing, your doctor and Four Corners Health Department may advise you to get the rabies shots.

Bats are very important to our environment. Remember, they don’t want to be in your home or scare you. If you would like more information or have found a bat in your home contact Four Corners Health Department at (402) 362-2621 or toll free (877) 337-3573.