It is not uncommon for a lost bat to enter a home. At dusk, bats fly around searching for a meal, and they can get confused and fly into a house. People fear bats because of rabies, but not all bats have the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 6 percent of captured bats that are submitted for testing because of being sick or wounded test positive for rabies. As with all wild animals, do not handle bats with bare hands and take safety precautions when in contact with them.
Things You'll Need
- Work gloves
- Small box or container
- Stiff piece of cardboard or paper
Contain the bat in one room by closing all other doors. Open the windows and the outside door if available. Turn on all the lights in the room and wait for the bat to calm down. When the bat first enters the house, it will fly around looking for an exit. Do not attempt to catch the bat when it's in a disoriented state.
Prepare to remove the bat if after 15 minutes it has not flown outside on its own. Put on the gloves and find a container, such as a small box or a large can. Use a large towel if a container is not available. Find a stiff piece of paper or cardboard to slip behind the container.
Locate the bat and wait for it to stop flying. Bats will usually try to rest on the wall, ceiling or behind curtains. Carefully place the container or towel over the bat. Slip the hard paper or cardboard under the box to contain the bat, or wrap the towel around the bat.
Put the box or towel outside on an elevated surface. Unlike birds, who use their wings to take off, bats use air pressure from a high point to glide before flying. Carefully remove the towel or container from the bat. It may take the bat a while to get its bearing and take off. Keep pets inside until the bat has recovered and left.
Prevent bats from entering the house by taking a few precautions. Close screens on windows after dusk, and keep screen doors closed. Chimney caps will prevent bats and other animals from entering via the flue. Check for holes or any entry points that a bat can crawl through. Plug holes and keep entry points closed at dusk.
Tips & Warnings
- A flying bat is most likely healthy but should be handled as if it is not.
- Bats do have teeth and can bite.
- Photo Credit David J Slater/Creatas/Getty Images
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