How To Tell If Bats Have Rabies

Posted on June 9, 2022

What Is The Rabies Virus?

Rabies is an infectious disease caused by a virus picked up by mammals. Any wild animal has the potential to transmit rabies. Rabies affects the central nervous system of humans and warm-blooded animals. The best prevention against rabies is to avoid handling wild animals as it is unable to be detected without a test. Rabies is transmitted by contact with the saliva of infected animals through something like a bite or scratch. Like other animals, bats can carry rabies. The main types of bats found in Ontario are the little brown bats and big brown bats.

Bat bites can be very small so a person might not always know when they have been bitten by a bat. Rabies vaccines should also be considered when direct contact between a person and a bat might have occurred, and a bite or scratch cannot be confidently ruled out. For example, if you wake up with a live or dead bat in the same room as you, you may have been exposed to rabies and should see your doctor or call your health department even if you don’t feel a bite.

The Dangers of the Rabies Virus

The rabies virus is nearly always fatal in humans and animals so if you come in contact with wild animals through a bite or scratch it’s important to get assessed by a healthcare professional to determine if you need a rabies vaccination. Any mammal can spread rabies to other mammals and contract rabies. The animals most likely to spread rabies to people include pets and farm animals, domestic animals, bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and more.

Rabies causes 60,000 human deaths every year; mostly in developing countries with only about two usually happening in the U.S. Although dog bites cause most human rabies, a majority of U.S. rabies deaths result from bat encounters so please air the side of caution when interacting with bats.

Have I Been Exposed and What To Do If I’ve Been Bit?

If you suspect you have been exposed to rabies by being bitten or scratched through contact with a bat, it’s important to contact your health department and seek medical attention to receive a rabies vaccine.

Before going to the emergency room, it’s important to immediately wash the wound to get the bat’s saliva out. Your doctor will advise you to seek the rabies PEP vaccine (post exposure prophylaxis) as soon as possible. That involves a dose of rabies immune globulin into the upper arm or directly injected into the wound if it’s visible. Four doses of the rabies vaccine will be administered over a two-week period.

The best way to protect yourself is to stay away from them and get medical care if you come in contact with them.

How To Tell If You Have Bats

Bats like to live in dark spaces so if you do find them in your house, they will often be found in the attic. If you think you have bats, it’s important to keep an eye out for the following:

Do The Bats In Your Attic Have Rabies?

When determining if bats have rabies, it’s better to air on the side of caution and avoid contact. Every bat should be considered rabid unless proven otherwise. You cannot tell if bats have rabies just by looking at them. Rabies can only be confirmed by having the bat tested in a laboratory or if you come in contact with getting yourself tested at a healthcare facility. However, there are signs to indicate a bat may be rabid.

Rabid bats often lose their ability to fly or do not fly well. They’re rarely aggressive as they become lethargic due to the disease. Bats are nocturnal so any bat that is active by day, or seen crawling on the ground, found in an open place like the bottom of a tree, a room in your home or on the lawn is showing signs of strange behaviour indicating that they may be rabid. Such bats are often the most easily approached.

Call The Professionals Call The Professionals

If you do have bats, you are probably wondering how you can get rid of them safely. Contact a local wildlife removal company so professionals can inspect the area and determine if they can remove the animal and have possible rabies testing done. Wildside Wildlife Removal & Prevention Ltd. will quickly and humanely remove any bats found in your attic and ensure your family is kept safe.