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FOUND A BAT

Less than of 1% of bats tested in colonies have rabies. A rabid bat will typically go to a quiet place to die. The chances of contacting a rabid bat is about 1 in 200 million! In the past 60 years there have been 50 documented deaths due to rabid bats. More than half of these people tried to violently remove or capture a bat, resulting in a terrorized, agitated animal, with the spread of blood, saliva, bites and scratches! Bats are usually non-aggressive; they will only bite in self-defense. Never handle a bat with bare hands. If you are bitten, you will need treatment, and the bat will be destroyed.

BATS IN THE HOUSE

As traditional roosts of bats (trees, caves, etc.) are destroyed, many bats are forced to seek shelter in man made structures. They may roost in attics, soffits, louvers, chimneys, under siding or shingles and behind shutters. Mostly bats go unnoticed and present no problems. They are rarely aggressive, but may bite if handled.

If a bat is in your house, usually opening the doors and windows will allow it to escape. If it won't go out, wait until the bat lands; cover it with a small box (plastic butter tub works well); slip a thin piece of cardboard between the wall and the box; slide the bat into the box and release it outside. Wear gloves doing this. Other techniques would be the use of a butterfly net or placing a soft towel over the bat.

To keep bats from reentering the house, check that doors, windows and screens are tight. A bat can enter through a hole of less than inches easily constructed one way exits may be installed at known entrances. In the fall, entrances may be sealed.

If the bats are not causing a problem don't exclude them. If droppings appear to be a problem, place plastic under the roost and collect the droppings for the garden. Never exclude a colony of bats in the spring or summer. There may be young still unable to fly. These would remain inside, die and then produce more serious problems.

Some bats may use man made bat houses, which may be purchased at nature supply stores or built from simple plans. The house should be have a sealed top, a ventilation slot and a landing platform. The house should be painted dark brown (latex) and mounted 12 to 15 ft. above the ground, facing east or south. The house may be placed on the side of a building, on a pole or on a tree with the lower branches removed. The house should receive 6 hours of direct sunlight.

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