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How NOT to Panic When Discovering a Bat
Stumbling upon a bat in your living space can be a startling and frightening experience. But if you stay calm, and follow a few simple steps, the situation can be resolved without harm to you, your home or the animal.
Avoid the natural inclination to either injure the animal – bats are a protected species under both state and federal law – or to chase the bat out of your home through the window or door. The best solution is to capture the bat, and then contact your town or county health department to conduct rabies testing.
Most likely, the bat will test negative for rabies, and you can prevent having to endure unnecessary medical treatment, along with all of the associated anxiety and trauma. However, if you are unable to catch the bat, and the bat was found in a sleeping area of the home, it is advised that all family members undergo the recommended regiment of rabies shots.
Tips to capture a bat:
- Do not chase a bat; use calm and controlled movements when approaching the animal
- If you have a window screen, remove or push aside any curtains or drapes blocking the window and open the top window an inch or two. Bats are attracted to air movements/drafts and will fly into the space. Close the window carefully to trap the bat between the window and the screen
- If the bat is on the wall, door or other hard surface, use a large, clear container with a wide top to capture the bat. Move toward the animal as quietly as possible and cover it with the container. Slide a thin piece of cardboard in between the surface and container. Gently turn the container upright, and simultaneously cover with the lid as you slide the cardboard off the top of the container
- If the bat is on the floor, it is nearly impossible for it to fly, and it is extremely easy to catch via the container method above
How Did They Get Here?
If you find bats in your living space, and they didn’t enter through a door or window, it is likely that you have a maternity colony living somewhere within the envelope of your house. The envelope refers to all of the elements that form a barrier separating the interior of the home from the outdoor environment. Even the tiniest gaps or cracks provide bats with access into your home. Bats are capable of entering an opening as small as 3/8” tall by 1” wide, or an opening that is ½” in diameter.
Temporary Quick Fixes
While our job is to provide permanent bat proofing for your home, there are a few temporary measures you can take in the interim.
1) If bats are entering your home from the attic, it may be due to the springs losing tension on your pull-down attic stairs, resulting in a small gap. For a quick fix, put duct tape around the hatchway to seal the opening.
2) Recessed lights in the ceiling are another common entryway for bats. These lights sit in canisters, and occasionally spaces form around them. A temporary solution is to cover the light and canister with cardboard and painter’s tape (do not use the light until the problem is resolved).
3) In older homes that used to have radiators, there may still be existing pipes which come through the walls, floors and ceilings. These pipes have clamps on them that loosen with age, resulting in gaps that allow another entry point for bats. To remedy this in the short term, measure the diameter of the pipes and buy new pipe clamps and glue (such as Liquid Nails) from a home improvement store. Glue the clamps to the pipe to ensure the clamp is sealed tightly.
Deciphering the Droppings…Do I Have Mice or Bats?
If you discover small droppings in your attic or other area of the house, you may be unsure whether your uninvited guest is a mouse or a bat. Droppings of both animals are quite small, and look like brown or black rice. However, they feed on different things so the composition is different.
One way to determine if you have bats is to crush the droppings. If you apply pressure to mouse excrement, there is no effect. But if you do the same to dried bat droppings (also known as guano), they will be pulverized into dust, due to the exoskeletal bugs that bats consume. The guano may also include some sparkly bits, which are actually pieces of wings that have been eaten.
- Bergen County Wildlife Control
- Essex County Wildlife Control
- Hudson County Wildlife Control
- Hunterdon County Wildlife Control
- Warren County Wildlife Control
- Mercer County Wildlife Control
- Middlesex County Wildlife Control
- Morris County Wildlife Control
- Union County Wildlife Control
- Passaic County Wildlife Control
- Somerset County Wildlife Control
- Sussex County Wildlife Control