Bats in Buildings
Removing a Single Bat

Removing a Single Bat


A single bat flying in the house is rarely cause for alarm and can usually be dealt with easily. In most cases, the “lost” bat is trying frantically to locate an exit and will leave on its own, though leaving may be more challenging for the bat than getting in! The animal can be assisted by opening a window or exterior door. Doors to adjacent rooms should be closed, all lights should be turned on, and ceiling fans turnedoff. It is important to remain quiet and patient as the bat finds its way outside. If the bat does not leave on its own, and if no direct contact with people or pets that may have resulted in a bite has occurred, the bat can be safely captured and released outside.

CREDIT: J. Scott Altenbach

Please Note: A bat that has bitten someone MUST be tested for rabies. If there is a chance that a person or pet was bitten, contain the bat and call your local Animal Control Agency. Then consult with your doctor or your state or local health department. A bite from any wild or unfamiliar mammal, including dogs and cats, should always be taken seriously. If the rabies status of the offending animal cannot be confirmed as negative, post-exposure rabies vaccinations will be required.

Follow these steps to capture a bat for release or for testing:

1. There is no need to chase a bat; simply wait quietly until the bat lands, then, wearing leather gloves, cover it with a small box or other container.

2. Gently, slip a piece of cardboard or a large envelope between the container and the surface where the bat has landed. Be careful that no part of the bat is caught between the box or can and the cardboard. Then slowly turn the box over, containing the bat inside.

* If the bat must remain in the box for several hours (e.g., it’s daytime and you want to wait until dark to release) place a soft cloth (non-terry) in the box before securing a cover. Most bats are very small, and can escape from a container with a loose-fitting lid, so be sure your cover is secure, but not air-tight. Smallholes can be made for ventilation.

3. Place the container in a quiet, safe place and wait until dark before releasing the bat outdoors (a bat released during the day is vulnerable to predators).

4. Most bats need to drop into flight from an elevated location, so don’t place the container on the ground. Place it on its side so the bat can easily climb out onto a tree limb or a second story deck, etc.

5. Watch until the bat flies away.

6. If the bat appears unable to fly, contact a local bat rehabilitator. You can search for one by state at: HERE OR your state wildlife agency or Department of Natural Resources.

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