While bats are overwhelmingly advantageous to our environment, they are the leading cause of rabies deaths in people throughout the United States. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that while only 19 cases of rabies were reported in the U.S. between 1997 and 2006, 17 were associated with bats, and three of those were unaware they had even come into contact with a bat.
While only 19 cases of rabies from bats during a nine-year period show that bat bites and rabies in bats are rare, it does occur. Knowing the facts about bats and rabies is important.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a serious virus spread through the saliva of infected animals, usually transmitted through a bite. Bat bites are not painful and may not even leave a mark. Should someone suspect having come into contact with a bat, such as if you wake up in the morning to find a bat in your room, contact medical authorities immediately to have yourself and the bat tested. It’s imperative to act right away because once a person shows signs of illness, rabies is almost always fatal.
About Bats and Rabies
Rabid bats have been discovered in 49 out of our 50 states. Only Hawaii is a rabies-free zone.
The only way to confirm if a bat has rabies is to test it in a lab. A rabies diagnosis cannot be determined by sight, but there are a few signs to look out for:
- A bat that is active in the daytime
- A bat that is found in an area not usual to their behavior, such as within your home or on your lawn
- A bat that is unable to fly and is easily approached
You can’t get rabies by being near a bat. Rabies is almost always contracted by a bite. What does a bat bite look like? It will not look like the fang marks portrayed in vampire movies. Bat teeth are so small and sharp that a bite will most likely look like a pinprick if there is any mark at all.
Why Do Bats Bite?
Like most mammals, bats usually only bite in self-defense. But bats that have rabies can bite without being provoked.
Bats can get into your home in a few ways. One can fly in through an open window. Or, the more likely scenario is that you have bats roosting in your chimney, attic, or walls, and one found its way into the house. Even though you are not provoking the bat while you sleep, it can become disoriented, feel trapped and think it is acting in self-defense.
What To Do if a Bat Is in Your House
Any potential contact with a bat needs to be taken seriously. For instance, if you wake up to find a bat in your room, assume you’ve been bitten. When a bat is within your living space, call a professional wildlife specialist such as Critter Control to capture the bat to have it tested for rabies. If the bat is dead, wear gloves and place it in a bag or container and call your local public health department for instructions on what to do.
Critter Control will also be able to check your property to see if there are other bats roosting on your property. Some common places are attics, chimneys, roof eaves, behind shutters, or in sheds.
Will I Need the Rabies PEP Regimen?
Call your doctor and alert them to the bat exposure. Call your pediatrician should there be children in the house.
The administration of the rabies PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) regimen is generally deferred until after the results of the rabies test on the bat. Test results take one to two business days, and only 3%–4% of bats test positive.
When a bat is not available for testing, the rabies PEP should be administered.
Preventing Bat Bites
The best way to prevent bat bites is to keep them from roosting in your home:
- Seal all gaps in your attic by going into your attic and looking for all the places where you can see daylight
- Cover and screen all vents and your chimney
- Seal any gaps in windows and repair torn screens
A wildlife expert, like the technicians at Critter Control, can help you each step of the way, from inspection to trapping.
Learn more about bat removal.
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It has been very effective at reducing the number of mice, lizard, and snake sightings. During one visit Edgar removed a rattlesnake he came across. We may see a snake maybe two to three times during the spring and summer months, but it has been far less than before.
Serivces: Wildlife & Rodent Control in San Diego
Full service. Excellent job of extracting raccoon, cleaning all animal waste, sanitizing, and spraying anti-parasitic substance. They closed all potential ports of entry, though the work did not match the vinyl, and it looks kind of tacky. They added blown insulation, which added a lot to the cost. They provide a one year warranty against animal intrusion, with an option to extend the warranty at the end of each one- year period. They were willing to work with me one the price. I will probably extend my warranty, and will definitely use them it the future.
I was really impressed by these guys. Got a call within a few hours of making an inquiry. Had a rep out to inspect the situation by the end of the week, and when they laid out the timeline they kept if not exceeded listed times.
Rob, Travis, and Jim were all professional, polite, and courteous and after months of hearing squirrels in my ceiling they are gone and the repair to my flashing looks excellent. Can't recommend these guys enough.
Jeff was incredibly professional and helpful. I'll use them again and would recommend them to anyone.
Critter Control did a great job of evaluating our house for sites of entry after we found bats and a squirrel in our attic. They completed their work promptly and professionally.
We heard some noise from the corner of our house. Concerned that it could be inside we called for an inspection. Jessy arrived as scheduled and conducted a complete inspection of our home. Based on a recording we made he determined we had a tree frog on our roof. I was pleased that we didn’t have any rodent in our house. And his inspection could a few spots I can tighten up around my house. I am very happy with the outcome.
We have a vacation home in Western Mass
and haven’t been there much during the pandemic as we live and work in Atlanta, GA. On our most recent visit we noticed that we had some rodent intrusion as well as some un-welcomed wildlife who decided to make our vacation home their home.
We contacted Critter Control and Mr. Cahoon was quick to set up an appointment as we wouldn’t be in town very long. He came out and assessed our issues. He informed us of our options to both eradicate and control future intrusions. Keeping in mind that wildlife is wildlife! He quickly got to work eradicating the rodents and wildlife from our home and addressing the intrusion issues. We feel much better leaving our vacation home for periods at a time knowing that Mr. Cahoon and Critter Control did their job and did it right! Thanks again!
We bought an old cabin last spring , it was used for years as a summer vacation cabin, therefore maintenance wasn’t a priority. After our project to remodel started, we found evidence of mice droppings
We immediately called Critter Control and they came and gave us a reasonable estimate to remove all remnants and insulation. They sanitized and replaced with new insulation and sealing up points of entry .
Seeing their professional work made us feel confident and secure that the problem was solved ! Everyone we worked with continued to show professional and respectful work. Highly recommend this company! We continue to use critter control monthly to be sure we are mice and bug free!