Lincoln experts give advice on what to do if you find bats in your home

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Bats are one of the most commonly reported rabid animals and are the leading cause of rabies deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Experts say that the best way to protect yourself from bats and rabies is to stay away from them if possible.

Lincoln Animal Control, as well as other pest services, say that if you do find a bat inside your home and have been in close contact with it, the bat should be captured for testing.

Steve Beal, manager at Lincoln Animal Control, says testing the bat is important to determine if it has rabies and whether any vaccinations are needed for any people or animals that came into contact with it.

“You don’t want to risk any exposure, bats have awfully small sharp teeth, and they can scratch you or bite you and may not even know it, and of course, the public health risk with that kind of exposure is potential rabies transmission.”

Rather than try to capture a bat yourself, experts say it is best to instead try to contain it to one area and let an expert capture it for you.

Daine Patton, the owner of Bats to Rats Wildlife Control and Prevention, says his company specializes in bat and rodent exclusion.

He says if you find a bat in your house, the first thing you should do is remain calm. Then he reiterates that you should keep track of it, get it contained to one area of the house, and call an expert to take care of it.

Bats are protected by the federal government, so it is actually illegal in most cases to kill them if you find one.

If you suspect a bat is living in your home, there are some signs to look out for to confirm it.

“If you see any kind of pellet droppings on the outside of your house, or inside of your house,” Patton said. “When bats commonly go in and out of homes, they leave rub markings which would be kind of like a greasy brown spot on the outside of the house. Scratching noises in your walls or attic are fairly common when you have bats.”

If you are bitten by a bat, it’s important to get in contact with a doctor to see if you need a rabies vaccine, as the disease is easily preventable with a vaccine before a person shows symptoms.

However, after a person begins showing symptoms the vaccine is no longer effective, and the chance of survival drops to less than 1%.

Again, bat bites can be very small and often go unnoticed until it is too late. The CDC recommends that if you come in contact with a bat, even if you aren’t sure if you’ve been bitten or scratched, talk to a healthcare professional.

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