We receive more panicked phone calls for a bat in my house at night than at any other type of call. It’s understandable though. For the majority of people who’ve never dealt with a bat in the house or even seen one in the wild, it can be panic inducing especially when roused from a sound sleep by it.
While it can be disconcerting to find a bat in my house at night, we hope you can at least find some comfort in the fact that bats being active at night is normal. If you find an active bat in your house during the middle of the day, it’s actually much more concerning.
So, what do you do when there is a bat in your house in the middle of the night?
Stay Calm, Follow These Bat Removal Instructions
One of the most critical things you need to figure out first is if ANY PERSON or ANY PETS have come into contact with the bat. This needs to be assessed quickly to decide what you need to do next. In the event you are unsure, follow the instructions for contact. Better safe than sorry.
There WAS Contact With the Bat
- Capture the bat! Do not let it out of your sight if at all possible. This bat will need to be turned over to the state vet’s office for rabies testing. There are various methods to capture it depending on your comfort level. No matter how you do this, we recommend you wear long sleeves, pants, and thick leather gloves while doing it.
- When it’s landed, throw a bucket or small trash can over it and slide a piece of cardboard under the edge to contain it. Flip it right side up. The bat won’t be able to climb the slick sides of the bucket. If it makes you more comfortable, you can put something over the opening of the bucket.
- When the bat has landed throw a towel over top of it. It won’t be able to fly from under it, but you will want to grab it (in the towel) pretty quick. You’ll have to place it in a plastic or metal container. Some people even throw them in a piece of tupperware with a lid.
- You can ATTEMPT to catch it mid flight with a butterfly net or something like that. It is pretty difficult to do. Plus, you then have to get it out of the net and into a container.
- Once caught, you will need to submit the bat in my house at night for rabies testing. How to accomplish this will vary by location. You can call your local animal control (sometimes just the sheriff’s office) and ask them if they will come get it. Some will, some won’t. If they won’t collect it for testing, they may have the phone number for who you need to contact. If they don’t, next call the local humane society. They won’t be able to collect it, but they may know the drop off locations. Many drop off locations are local vets offices and they can take it from there. Should the humane society not know, call a local veterinarian. If all else fails, Google “get a bat tested for rabies near me”.
- If the bat was killed during capture or dies soon after from stress, you will need to put it in the fridge (Do not put it in the freezer) for specimen preservation. The brain tissue has to be examined so don’t crush the head. Since bats are so small, they start to decay quickly. If you do not put it in the fridge, there may not be anything left to test by the time it gets to the lab.
There WAS NOT Contact With the Bat
There is no need to “catch” the bat unless it just won’t go out. Use airflow to help the bat find a way out.
- Open a door or unscreened window for the bat to feel fresh airflow.
- Turn the lights down. Some recommend turning the lights off, but for me personally I want to see it go outside and I can’t do that in the pitch black. I’ve even seen this done with all the lights in the room on, but it is a longer process as the lights disorient the bats.
- If the bat just won’t fly outside and you have to catch and release, just follow the steps above making sure to have on long sleeves, pants, and thick leather gloves. Do not let it go if during the catch process you have skin contact with the bat or think it bit you through your clothing. If you catch it and everything goes smoothly, just let it go outside.
I Couldn’t Catch the Bat and I’m Not Sure About Contact
Please consult your health professional right away. You may need to undergo a course of rabies shots. The CDC recommends rabies shots if the bat was in the room with an unsupervised child, anyone with mental disabilities, or anyone impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Wait, What Does a Bat in my House at Night Mean Though?
There is more than one answer to that question, however, it is highly likely that you have a colony of bats living somewhere in the house with you. We highly recommend you contact us so we can discuss your individual situation.
There are things you can do yourself to see if you have a bat infestation. We are happy to go over the things you can do and the things you shouldn’t do yourself. If you know you have a bat infestation, set up an inspection with us. We will get you a customized proposal to get the bats out completely. Call our customer service at 877-264-2287 or click the link below for us to call you.
Your local bat removal expert,