- Bats are a critical part of a healthy ecosystem.
- They often find themselves in need of professional intervention.
- Because they can carry the rabies virus, it is important to follow the instructions below for safely containing a bat to bring into our center for medical attention.
Signs that a bat is sick or injured
The following signs indicate that a bat may need medical attention:
- There are obvious wounds or blood on its body
- One or more of its wings, legs, or head look like they’re pointing in the wrong direction
- There is string, oil, glue, or some other substance on its body
- It is struggling to fly
- The bat is found on the ground or roosting in a spot where it is easily reached without a ladder
- You found the bat awake in the winter time – even if it was found indoors
- It has had contact with a cat – even with no obvious injuries, this is a medical emergency for bat
If you’ve determined that the bat needs help, the next step is getting it safe and secure until you can find help for it. If you already have it contained, call or bring it to your nearest rehab center.
When to leave a bat alone
- Bats sometimes fly into a building by accident or choose a spot to roost that is not ideal. If it is not flying around, it is best to close off its location and open a window or door for it to leave at nightfall.
- Never try to relocate or release a bat during the day. It will most likely not survive.
- If a healthy bat needs to be removed (flying in your house, over a business doorway, has had contact with a child or pet), please call for professional assistance.
How to safely contain a bat
Bats are considered a rabies vector species in California – this DOES NOT mean that they have rabies. It just means that they should be handled with a little more care and caution. When containing a bat, avoid direct contact with the animal.
To safely contain a bat, it’s best to use an indirect method and to wear gloves. You will need:
- A Tupperware container or box – make sure to poke air holes in the top (no wider than a pencil) before you get started!
Containing a bat is similar to containing a spider to put outside. Simply put a cup over it and slide a piece of paper underneath? Approach the back calmly and quietly, and place the container over it, being careful of its delicate wings. Slide paper or a lid underneath to contain the bat and secure the container.
Once the bat is contained, put it in a warm, dark, quiet place like a bathroom or basement, and bring to your nearest rehab center.
- Remember – human safety first! If at any point you feel afraid or uncomfortable, contact a rehab facility for advice.
- Never dispose of a deceased bat on your own. Please bring it to a local rehab center or your local animal control agency.