If you discover a bat in your house, immediately STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and call an expert. Immediately. Do not wait. Do not go out for coffee and think about it for an hour or two. Do not try to deal with the problem in your own; and at all costs DO NOT let the bat out of the house.
Left untreated, rabies is a 100% fatal disease that attacks the central nervous system and brain.
If you find a bat in your home, the only priority is to capture and test that animal – and you should get a professional to help.
“You can’t tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it; rabies can be confirmed only by having the animal tested in a laboratory. So be safe; never handle a bat.” – Centers for Disease Control
- If a bat is in your house today, it’s entirely possible that the animal was in your house yesterday or the day before, possibly even overnight.
- Because bat teeth are very small and razor sharp, it is possible for a human to be bitten by a bat and not even know it. If you see a bat in your home you need to have it tested for rabies. If the bat was in a room with someone who was sleeping, or is intoxicated then the assumption is that the bat may have bitten this person. This means the bat needs to be tested for rabies to protect your family.
- The longer you wait to contact a professional, the greater the likelihood the animal will evade capture. Bats can find their way into and out of very small holes in your home; HVAC vents, bath fan conduit and more. The bat WILL find a way to leave the home. You need to act QUICKLY to ensure the bat is captured and tested. If the bat evades capture, and you find out you have been bitten, a full rabies treatment may be in your future If possible isolate the bat in a room, close the door and put a towel underneath it to try and prevent the bat from escaping before a trained professional can capture and test it for rabies.
- A full rabies treatment or post-exposure prophylaxis consists of a dose of immune globulin, followed by 4 rabies vaccine shots over a 14 day period. Rabies immune globulin and the first rabies vaccine shot should be given as soon as possible, after exposure. The remaining shots will likely be administered on day 3, day 7 and day 14.
As you can see, finding a bat inside your home is a very serious matter and you should seek professional, expert assistance immediately. Contact ABC Humane Wildlife at 847-870-7175 courteous staff will be happy to help. We have 24 hour emergency service available, 7 days a week to assist you.
Image via creative commons license courtesy of flickr and Matt Reinbold.