Symptoms of Rabies in a Bat

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Use caution around bats that are behaving strangely.
Use caution around bats that are behaving strangely. (Image: chauve-souris image by martine wagner from Fotolia.com)

Rabies is a serious medical condition that attacks the nervous system if left untreated. If rabies goes undetected and untreated, it leads to inevitable death. The most common animals to spread rabies to humans are bats. To be cautious, it is best to avoid bats entirely. However, if there is a reason why you must be around bats, know what signs to look for to tell if a bat is rabid or not. Keep in mind that not all rabid bats will show signs of rabies, so always use caution and seek medical attention if you believe you have been exposed.

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Out in Daylight

Bats are nocturnal animals. This means they sleep during the day and are active at night. Bats with rabies are often seen out in the daytime. A bat out in the day may not necessarily have rabies, but it is certainly unusual behavior. If you see a bat in broad daylight it is best to steer clear of it.

Can't Fly

Paralysis is one symptom of rabies in bats. A bat may be lying limp on the ground as though dead. You may see it struggling to fly and unable to get off the ground. If a bat is grounded, there is a good possibility it is rabid.

Aggression

Normally bats will not attack humans. If a bat swoops down overhead, there is a good chance it is just trying to catch an insect. If a bat bites or attempts to attack a human or shows general aggression, it could be rabid. Rabies cannot be treated if it is not detected before symptoms appear, so if you are bitten by a bat, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Excess Saliva

Animals with rabies are often depicted in books and movies as "foaming at the mouth." This may not actually be the case, but rabies does often cause an increase in saliva. Sometimes it looks as though the animal is foaming at the mouth, but a bat may also be seen drooling excessively rather than foaming.

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