Bats in the belfry, attic, basement or chimney? Scratching or scurrying noises in the ceiling? Foul odors in your home? Critter Control can help eliminate bats in your home and prevent them from re-entry. Call your local Critter Control office today at 800 CRITTER for effective bat removal services. Photos Play Audio Pause Audio Description Over 40 bat species exist in the United States alone, and nearly 1,000 different species live around the world. They have a bad reputation and are often thought of as flying rats. Although bats are capable of spreading disease, much like rats, their existence is beneficial to humans and the environment in a way rats are not. While some bat species feed on nectar, other small mammals, fish, or, like the notorious vampire bats of South America, blood, the vast majority of bat species are insectivores and maintain a diet of night-flying insects like mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. As these insects are often pests themselves, controlled populations of bats around homes can be considered favorable. Appearance Bats have furry bodies that range in color to include shades of tan, red, brown, and grey. To compensate for their poor eyesight, bats typically have large ears designed for echolocation. As the only mammals capable of flight, they are very light and have wings. The bone structure of the wing resembles that of a human hand, as there are flaps of skin between the bones. At their tiniest, bats grow between 2.5 to 3.5 inches (6 to 9 cm) in length and have a wingspan of about 8 inches (20 cm). Larger species range from 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 cm) in length and have a wingspan between 21 and 23 inches (53 and 58 cm). Habitat Highly adaptable, bats set up roosts in a variety of environments like deserts, woodlands, suburbs, and urban areas. They are found around the world and only avoid extreme climate zones like the polar regions or especially harsh deserts. While bats prefer warm temperatures, they survive in temperate environments by hibernating come winter months. Bats will use barns, attics, caves, tree cavities, and the undersides of bridges to roost and/or overwinter. Entry Are bats known to enter homes or yards? For the most part, bats are innocuous because they are nocturnal and humans sleep through their activity. However, in order to survive cold winters in various regions of the world, bats enter homes and roost in secluded locations like attics. They can squeeze into openings as tiny as a quarter of an inch (6 mm) in diameter, such as cracks around windows and doors, pipes and electrical wiring that lead inside, and vents. Damage Do bats harm people or property? While bats are beneficial creatures overall, they do pose certain health threats. Diseases like rabies and histoplasmosis are often associated with bats. Though 99 percent of rabies-related deaths are caused by rabid dogs, bats are still carriers of the disease. Thankfully, even rabid bats refrain from biting humans unless they feel threatened in some way. While the fungus that causes histoplasmosis is not carried by bats, it lives in warm, humid soil. Bat droppings act as a catalyst for the development of the fungus, and human infection occurs when people inhale the spores. Bats also host ectoparasites, like fleas, flies, ticks, and mites, that endanger the health of humans and pets. Finally, bat urine can cause a pervasive and unpleasant smell, while bat droppings stain ceilings and building visages. Control and Safety Since bat populations can prove beneficial, some homeowners construct what are known as bat houses close to gardens and around homes in order to keep bats from roosting where they are unwanted. Since bats will likely still target any available structure, homes remain susceptible unless individuals take the time to seal off potential points of entry. In addition to sealing cracks and openings, illuminating attic spaces and eaves during nighttime hours helps deter bats from roosting, as does placing fans in attics to lower the temperature. Trapping and Removal Trapping and removal of a bat can be tricky and should never be attempted if the bat was found in a room where people were sleeping. Calling your local Critter Control certified wildlife professional to manage the procedure is the best way to ensure safety. While at your property, Critter Control will identify the entry points bats are using to access your home and make recommendations to exclude them permanently. Bats suspected of having rabies should always be left for professionals to remove. We can help you get rid of bat problems. Call today: 1.800.274.8837.