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bats:need to catch one in my house ASAP

20 years ago

Help! There is a bat in my house. I saw it this morning in my daughters room. I shut the door and when I returned to capture it it was gone. Animal Control can't find it either. If we don't find it today, we will all have to get rabies shots. I want to avoid that if possible because of possible bad reactions and they are extremely expensive. Please respond immediately if you have any ideas on how we can capture the bat today. It is somewhere in the house.

Comments (29)

  • lindac
    20 years ago

    The bat likely has left the same way he entered.
    I wouldn't worry about a rebies shot unless someone was bitten.
    Linda C

  • MikeZ
    20 years ago

    Bats this time of year in houses is common. I had them in my last house a couple of times. There's no evidence to suggest bats that invade houses are rabid. What makes you think you will need rabies shots? Talk to your doctor--I think you need to be bitten to get infected. Even though I find them creepy, too, bats are extremely inoffensive, rarely have rabies, and do not swoop at human beings the way thet are depicted in Hollywood. Read up. You will feel better about it.

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  • jeremy101
    20 years ago

    I've lived in houses before where bats got in frequently and whenever one disappeared it must have left as Lindac suggested, because we never found them. I also agree with Lindac about the necessity of the rabies shots.

    I know they're very frightening, but I've always been successful in getting them out of the house by providing them an open door or window. Since they fly/navigate by radar they can tell where there is an exit for them and also where the obstacles are. I've also never had one fly into me either, although I still can't help leaping around and dodging.

    If one is flying around in a room with a door I would suggest closing the door and opening the window and screen and the bat will fly around a few times and then leave. Similarly whenever one has been flying in my living area where theres not a door to close it still has quickly found the door after it's opened. If it lands on the curtain or something, let it rest, then shoo it down with a broom and it should find the exit on its own.

    They are scary to me too, but I would ask that you not try to kill bats, because they are very beneficial creatures. Without going into a big long explanation, it's simple enough to point out that they eat lots of mosquitos.

  • lucky_p
    20 years ago

    The majority of (fatal) human cases of rabies in the USA in the last 10-20 years have been determined to be of bat origin, and frighteningly, when investigations have been made in those cases, no bite exposure could be determined for most of them. As a result, current recommendations are that if you wake up and there is a bat in your room, you are considered 'exposed', and the bat should be captured, killed, and submitted for rabies testing. This is particularly true in the case of small children or persons who may be incapacitated.

    Check out the CDC page on Bats & Rabies

    Here is a link that might be useful: CDC - Bats & Rabies

  • dandp
    Original Author
    20 years ago

    Just thought I'd fill you in on what I've learned toady in case you are ever in this situation. It is actually more serious than I would have imagined. The CDC and doctors recommend that you get the rabies vacine if a bat was in the room when you are sleeping. Bat bites are seldom visible and supposedly you wouldn't necessarily know that you were bitten in your sleep. In our case, we have been unable to catch the bat so we will start on the rabies vaccine tomorrow. I'm still hoping to catch the bat tonight, if it is still in the house. If it's in the house it is in my child's room because the door has been shut since we saw it. It very likely did not enter from the outside into that room since we saw it downstairs first. We captured it but it got out of the sheet and box it was put in. We didn't want to kill it, but my strong recommendation is that if you ever find a bat in your bedroom and you have been asleep, KILL it and take it to the Animal Control people for testing. If you have not been asleep, just open a window and let it go.

  • jeremy101
    20 years ago

    Like Lucky P, I also recommend reading the CDC site. However after doing so, I came away with a much different perspective than what I had from reading Lucky P's post.

    After reading the CDC site about bats/rabies, I feel that Lucky P's message comes off as overly alarming by presenting, in an unbalacned way, only dramatic statistics without mentioning that it is only recommended that the bat be submitted for testing after there is some likelyhood or chance that someone was bitten or exposed to the bat's saliva.

    It is very difficult without direct evidence (witnessing the bat bite someone) to %100 determine what has occurred. This is why I believe it is recommended to get a precautionary shot for children or incapicitated persons who are unable to reliably report whether they were bitten or not.

    It really seems a question of what is the degree of danger here, and that can only be answered by carefully assessing all of the facts in a given situation. Animal Control may recommend generically that everyone in the house be vaccinated because, absent direct evidence that there is no contamination, that is that only advice they could give safely without fear of being sued on the unlikely chance that someone was bitten by a rabid bat.

    Life is not a laboratory and there is always a chance of someone having been exposed. (What if a child was bitten and the bat left before morning? What if a child was unknowingly exposed to a rabid animal and then a bat was later found in the house which tested negative and the child still got rabies?) Lucky P mentions a sensational statistic about bats and fatal rabies (how many cases are we talking here?) but fails to mention that it is rare for the bat to have rabies in the first place.

    This being said, I would want to be very cautious with my child. If you can't find the bat to have it tested, perhaps you could inspect your child carefully for signs of a bite. Ask your doctor for advice.

    The site mentions erratic flying and being in the house as possible, but not sure, signs of rabies. Bats also can live in houses, so it could have rabies or it could have mistakenly come in to the living space. In my life experience the bats in my house seemed healthy and one was in my room once as a child. It scared me but I'm still here.

    It's likely that the safest choice would be to have shots for everyone, but that's only if it's statistically safer than driving to the doctor's office.

    Lucky P, I'm not trying to pick a quarrel with you and I think you raised important points. I simply am responding because I believe the situation should be handled using dandp's best judgement without the situation being compounded by irrational fears.

    PS. The CDC site was very informative, but I didn't see where it said the bat must be killed in order to be captured and tested.

  • Abby1930
    20 years ago

    I believe the only way to test for Rabies is by examining the brain tissue of the animal, which means, unfortunately,
    it must be killed.


  • lindac
    20 years ago

    Some houses routinely get bats....seems there are small holes in the brick mortar, or gaps in a tile roof and bats get in while looking for a placew to roost.
    As a child living in a big old house....we would have a bat about once a year. I have a friend who lives in a house with a tile roof, and she gets a bat every couple of months from spring through fall. Our church has brick walls and a tile roof, and it's not too unusual to see a bat flying around the sanctuary during evening choir practise. If I go out in my back yard at dusk, I can see bats diving and darting to catch insects.
    If you find a bat in the room while you are awake, how do you know it wasn't there while you were asleep?
    I think that unless the bat were acting very strangely, I would not subject my child to the rabies series.
    If every one who woke to find a bat in the room were to get a rabies shot, we would soon run short of vaccine. is a fatal disease.

    On a lighter note, when my son was in college, the fraternity house didn't have screens on the dorm rooms, nor air conditioning.
    As my son was headed back to college and I saw him pack an old sprung tennis racket, I asked him why he didn't take his good one....
    He said the racket was for "bat tennis"....seems a bat flying through the window was not an unusual thing!
    Linda C

  • Meghane
    20 years ago

    Having had a pre-exposure series of Rabies vaccines myself (since I am a vet tech), I can say that the range of reactions for the vaccines were not that bad. On the 3rd shot, my arm swelled up pretty good and I felt a little under the weather for a day or 2. One of the vets mentioned his workouts were not as good for a couple of days. Some people said they felt almost flu-like for a day or 2. One person had a mild fever for one day. All of these came only after the 3rd shot. The tech who was possibly exposed to Rabies did not have pre-exposure vaccines and had to go through the whole series. He said the same thing- no big deal, his arm swelled a little bit after the last (5th) shot, but he never felt bad. I'd rather go through the shots than find out too late that I had rabies. Once you have symptoms, you're dead. We are having a pretty bad year for Rabies here, with rabid foxes attacking small children and the like. We are in no danger of running out of Rabies vaccines, although I agree they are expensive (luckily our hospital pays for it). But to not "subject" a child to the vaccines because of the possible reaction is silly.

  • ohforpetesake
    20 years ago

    My friends had a bat in their house last year that made occasional appearances, swooping and divebombing whoever was in the room, leaving everyone screaming and running for cover. ( a Hollywood bat, I suppose! LOL) It kept getting back down to the basement where it would hide out until the next time and then finally they trapped it in the laundry room and opened a window for it. I would try that method first before trying to catch the thing. It probably wants out of your house more than you want it out. As far as rabies shots, it seems like one heck of a precaution but nobody can make that decision for you. I do know that these friends of ours didn't even consider it, and their unwelcomed guest was around for quite some time. Best of luck to you.

  • brookeone1
    20 years ago

    How did the shots go? Last summer, I took my daughter to the doctor for a checkup and the usual vaccinations. My daughter hates shots, but the doctor and I assured her it would be several years before she needed any more shots. While we were in the exam room, the doctor and I chatted a great deal and somehow got on the subject of rabies, rabies shots, and bats, and even got some laughs about the whole subject, for reasons that elude me now.

    Well--THAT VERY NIght, while I was inside reading, I heard my daughter, who was playing in the front yard, suddenly start to scream. I ran out just in time to see her flailing her arms and watch a shadowy bat fly up and away from her. She said it had flown into her face, but when I took her inside to examine her, I couldn't find the slightest mark anywhere. I just washed her face and arms and tried to forget about it.

    It just seemed so bizarre that I'd been laughing about bats and rabies with the doctor just that morning. I couldn't imagine calling him and telling him, "Remember the bats we were laughing about...well, it's the darnedst thing..." I tried to convince myself that it could have been a big moth (and it could have been, tho unlikely), or that even if it was a bat, she had no bites or scratches, and so on. But as time went on, the whole incident bothered me more and more, until, several days later, I decided to call animal control, just to put my mind at rest.

    Well, the rabies expert there, who was a vet, shocked me when she told me in no uncertain terms to take my daughter to the emergency room that very minute, if not sooner. I had expected that an expert would either tell me not to worry (which I was hoping to hear) or, at the most, suggest shots only because it would put my mind at ease. But no. The vet said that even the most superficial, fleeting contact with bats had been known to transmit rabies. Most cases of rabies from bats actually come from people who DIDN'T get bitten or scratched. Sure--the odds of getting rabies are minuscule, but once gotten, the odds of dying are 100 percent. Anyway, she didn't have the tiniest doubt of what course we had to take, and that clinched it for me.

    So, to make a long story short, my daughter got six more hated shots, despite my promise to her, and when we go to the doctor now I don't let him talk about anything except the matter at hand!

  • Gumper
    19 years ago

    Get a cat! I've had three bats in the house, and the cat has caught them every time. Once we didn't even know the bat was in the house until we came downstairs in the morning, and found it dead on the floor with the cat lying proudly next to it. :)

  • brickeyee
    19 years ago

    Since the consequences are rather severe, err on the side of caution. If you want a laugh, a friend was bit by a racoon that tested positive for rabies. the medical insurance tried to deny the rabies vaccine claim because they did not pay for vaccinations. A little pressure turned them around.

  • Judith
    19 years ago

    This past summer a 13 year old boy died of Rabies in the hospital on the campus where I work. He was from a small town in Tennessee and had picked up a live bat in the woods that was on the ground. He took it home and had it in his posession for about an hour before he told his parents he had it. They made him return it to the woods and they asked him several times if the bat had bitten him and he said no, it hadn't bitten him so they didn't get the rabies shots for him. Two months later he became extremely sick and was transferred from their local hospital to the university hospital where he died a few days later. His parents thought it was safe because the boy said the bat had not bitten him and he had not been in contact with the bat's saliva but somehow the boy contracted Rabies and died. He was a very handsome 13 year old boy who wanted to help a bat he found in the woods that appeared disoriented. The parents appeared on our local TV station to warn about the dangers of Rabies after their son died. They appeared to be well educated people and they had no idea their son was in danger since there was no bite wound.

  • sweeby
    16 years ago

    I'm bumping this thread up since it's that time of year again. The bats are out and flying around...

    We had one in our house the other night. My son said there was a really big bug flying around in his room, and since it was the middle of the night and I was asleep, I told him to go back to bed. What did we find in his bedroom the next evening? A bat. "Look mom, there's that big bug again!" Like a couple of the posters above, I wasn't worried either. My son indicated that he hadn't been bitten or even touched the bat, so we just caught the bat and released him outside -- just a good story.

    We figured our son would know if he'd been bitten by a bat -- But after reading up on the subject, most people who have contracted rabies from contact with bats say they didn't know they'd been bitten, scratched, or even touched. And that a bat bite or scratch is so small, it's extremely difficult for a doctor to find. And of course, on a small boy in the summer, there's always a scratch, a bug bite, a spot...

    Bottom line -- If you see a bat in your house, close the doors to the room, call animal control, and have the bat tested. We could have done that, but didn't realize it was necessary, didn't think it through - we just wanted it out of our house and back outside killing mosquitos. So now our son is facing a series of rabies shots and we're feeling really worried and stupid. I just hope everything works out OK for him, and that our experience can help someone else --

  • Turtle_Haven_Farm
    16 years ago

    I've had bats twice in my house in the last 20 years. Was alone, stupid dogs were useless, they just stood there and watched it fly back and forth.
    Got my husbands large fishing net on long pole from boat. Next time it swooped past me, I caught it in net, then shook the netting so it got tangled up in it. Walked outside, let it go.
    Would rather have bats around eating their weight in bugs every night than some of the neighbors I've had to put up with the past 20 yrs LOL - Ellen

  • pearldrop
    16 years ago

    After long drawn out discussions and consulting several specialists about our situation, My whole family is starting the series of vaccines tomorrow, I can't tell you how upset I am at the prospect of taking my three kids in tomorrow to start this. Anyone that has already been through this, please tell me your experience. If the shots are equivalent to the regular immunization shots, we'll survive...but if they are much more painful...:( I just want to know what I am up against in terms of what I will be dealing with with my kids.

    Thanks so much.

  • GLM1960
    11 years ago

    My sister had bats in her attic shortly after moving into her new old house. Don't know what she did but they never came back. I once found an injured bat on my front porch. One time when I was coming out of the shower and walked into the kitchen there was a snake on the kitchen floor. Turns out a momma snake and her babies were living under my side porch. They stink something awful. I took the momma snake across the road and deep into the woods. Two days later she's back under the porch with her babies!

  • texasredhead
    11 years ago

    GLM1960, you are brand new to gardenweb. What is your purpose in digging up 6 to 9 year old subjects to add your "me toos"?

  • cas66ragtop
    11 years ago

    Reality check - bats are nothing to be fearful of. Quite the opposite. Educate yourself on all the tremendous good these creatures do before you go sending everyone on a witch hunt.

    I have caught and released at least 8 bats over my lifetime without harming them and without them harming me. If you get one in your house, no big deal, let it fly by or let it land somewhere, calmly catch it with a bath towel and release it. No need to call animal control, no need to think the bat has rabies just because it was "crazy enough" to get into your house, no need to call homeland security and raise the panic level to orange.

    Without bats, we would be severely overrun with insects. Bats are not interested in hurting you or your family or your pets. Unless you have pet mosquitos - then maybe you better watch out. No, you don't want them biting you, but why would they unless you were stupid enough to put your fingers near its mouth? And no, you don't exactly want a whole brood of them roosting in your attic either, but thats a rarity.

    C'mon people - stop living in fear, and use that brain that God gave you!

  • Sarah27hec_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    I woke up to a bat in our bedroom 2 nights ago & though we were all freaked out I thought nothing more of it. We had caught it & tossed it back out the window. Then my neighbor informed us bat bites and scratches are most times not even felt or seen. I called public health department & they informed me the whole family needs rabies shots since we were sleeping and therefore cannot be 100% sure there was no
    contact. The bat flew into our boys' room so they need shots & unfortunately our 2 month old baby sleeps in our room so he needs shots too...I'm so upset thinking of the shots my kids (and myself & husband) will
    now have to get! It's not crazy...better be safe than sorry! Especially w/ a disease like rabies. I think the fact that we were sleeping is the reason for concern...if you were awake & saw it fly in & fly out (or caught it) then you can be 100% sure you weren't in direct contact. Good luck to anyone else going through this!

  • texasredhead
    11 years ago

    If You sleep with open windows without screens, you've got no one to blame but your selves.

  • brickeyee
    11 years ago

    "Reality check - bats are nothing to be fearful of. Quite the opposite. Educate yourself on all the tremendous good these creatures do before you go sending everyone on a witch hunt. "

    Exposure to bats in a house (and there is some evidence their urine may be capable of transmitting rabies) is cause to capture and have the bat tested.

    "All the tremendous good these creatures do" is going to pale if anyone gets rabies.

    There are only a couple of cases of humans surviving getting active rabies (and there was damage to the brain).

    If you fail to capture the bat then you need the rabies vaccination immediately.
    There is not enough time to wait and see if symptoms develop.
    If it tests positive you also need the vaccine immediately.

    It is now freeze dried and simple to administer (no worse than any other vaccination) but takes a series of shots to make sure immunity develops.

    People who routinely go into caves or other places that bats frequent should be vaccinated beforehand.

    It is routine to vaccinate for rabies if you even handled a rabid animal.

    It may have saliva on it with active virus present.

  • brickeyee
    11 years ago

    Wash the container thoroughly.

    A mild bleach solution would not be out of line.

  • lizbeth-gardener
    10 years ago

    2012 bump...Information on bat/rabies exposure worth reading-you don't have to be bitten to be exposed.

    CDC has a page on bats/rabies on their website.

  • Jumpilotmdm
    10 years ago

    cas66 said it best. I've "exterminated" 2 bats from houses in my lifetime and I think they both left alive.
    There are so many miss-conceptions in this world. Bats don't fly in your hair.
    Snakes freak people out too, and they are just docile most of the time, and don't want anything to do with you.
    I swatted the bats out of the sky with a tennis racket, picked them stunned up off the floor and put them outside. The game warden suggested the tennis racket.

  • camlan
    10 years ago

    In my state, 25% of bats carry the rabies virus. That's not good odds, when you wake up with a bat in your bedroom. There have been enough cases of rabies from bats where they could not figure out if the victim was bitten or just touched the saliva or something else.

    If rabies wasn't fatal once the symptoms start showing, it would be a different story. But the only way to prevent dying from rabies if you have been infected is to get the shots soon enough.

    Last week, we found a bat in the kitchen sink one morning. Because we sleep with the bedroom doors open, the bat could have been flying in our rooms as we slept. Therefore, it needed to be tested for rabies. A call to the state department of Public Health brought a Fish and Game official to our door less than two hours later. We had the results of the rabies test four hours after that. (It was negative. However the bat was infected with white nose disease, which is killing off a lot of bats in our area.)

    At no point did anyone from the state suggest that we were fear-mongering or making a mountain out of a molehill. Everyone was polite, concerned and determined to act fast. They took the bat seriously. So did I.

    There's no need to panic if you find a bat in your house. But there is a need to take it seriously and get it checked for rabies if anyone was asleep in any of the rooms it was in.

  • itsahobby
    9 years ago

    We have lived here for 22 years and last night, for the first time, a bat somehow found its way into our living room. It is extremely fast so I can't figure out how to catch it. The house is 2 stories with a walkout basement and well over 4000 square feet, i know of no openings in the house . This morning I opened 2 exterior doors wide and the bat flew all over but never out the open doors, now there are enough insects in the house to feed the bat LOL.
    I told my wife we have more danger with all the new mosquitoes than we had with the one bat. We've searched the house now in daylight but can not find him...I'm tired of looking, there are 1000's of hiding places in here !