***“Animal Help Tips” is offered as a public information source, not a formal instruction manual on how to deal with wild animal situations. The Wildlife Rescue League does not accept responsibility for any outcomes that might result from reading and acting on this material.***
Birthing: Red bats: 3-4 young per year. May-June. Others: One young per year in April-July.
Eyes opened: 2-5 days
Weaning (beg-end): 2-6 weeks
Active: Night time; hibernate in winter.
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: If a bat is found inside a house and the outside temperature is less than forty degrees, a rehabilitator should be contacted about possibly overwintering the bat
Q - Are bats dangerous?
A - Although a small percentage of bats can carry rabies, healthy bats will not attack you. If you stand still they will not fly into you. Bats do a great service by eating insects (diving at the insects is often mistaken for an attack on a human). One bat can eat up to 3000 mosquitoes in one night. They are gentle creatures; so never needlessly destroy.
Q - How do I know if a bat has rabies?
A - Bats do not show rabies symptoms, so it is important never to handle bats without gloves or a towel. Any time someone has been in a room with a bat and there is the possibility of a bite that was not noticed (child, sleeping or mentally-incapacitated person, etc.) animal control should be called to capture and test the bat. These instances usually occur at night. If the bat cannot be captured and tested, or tests positive for rabies, contact the public health officer immediately.
Q - There’s a bat in my attic/house. What should I do?
A - Occasionally, bats are found behind house shutters when these are moved for painting or repair. These bats should be left alone until just around sunset, when the shutters can be taken down after they leave. If the shutter is left down, the bat will seek an alternate roosting site. If the bat is inside the house, close off doors to stairwells or other rooms to confine the bat(s) to a single room. Turn out all lights including aquarium lights, lights on VCRs, microwaves, etc. Open any windows and doors to the outside and leave the room -- they will leave on their own at dusk.
Q - How do I keep bats from coming back?
A - If you don’t want them to return, you will need to close any holes to the outside that are more than 2 inch in diameter, or any cracks of 1/4 x 1 2 inches. Bats can enter through open doors and windows, chimneys, or loose-fitting screens on windows or doors. However, before closing up the area make sure that there are no bats trapped inside, particularly flightless young. Bats are unable to fly for the first 3 weeks after birth. All young bats usually fly by mid-August.
Q - The bat won’t leave or can’t fly. How do I get it?
A - If the bat is found on the ground or on the floor in a house, or appears to be injured, or cannot fly, or it is a baby, refer the caller to a rehabilitator. Secure the bat with a box over it and keep children and pets away. Bats cling to a wall or tree normally; they cannot take off horizontally and must be vertical to fly. If an adult is clinging to a wall or curtain, it may be reluctant to fly because it is daylight, not yet awake, not warm enough, or injured. Do not touch it. Place a cardboard or Styrofoam box with air holes over it, or a coffee can. Slowly insert a piece of cardboard between the bat and the wall or floor. Or use a towel over it and gently roll the bat in the towel, then take it outside. Do not place it on the ground; put it high in a vertical position, if possible. Bats will only fly away at night. If it is still there in the morning, contact the Hotline.
Q - I have found a sluggish bat during the winter. What do I do?
A - Bats hibernate during the winter. However, during a warm spell, they may wake up and go look for food. When it gets cold again, they may not be able to make it back to the roost. Call the Hotline immediately because they may be quite emaciated