I found a bat on the ground.
What should I do?
If you find a bat on the ground, or someplace it does not belong,
do not touch it with bare hands.
Bats are not aggressive, but like many wild animals, they
will bite in self defense.
A tiny percentage of bats (less than a fraction of a percent)
contract rabies and consequently end up on the ground due to
paralysis. As a result about
10% of bats found on the ground test positive for rabies.
Make sure children know not to handle or try to pick up a
bat. Adults can use
heavy leather gloves or a thick towel to transfer the bat to a
plastic container or cardboard box.
It is best to put a rag in the box with the bat.
The bat will usually crawl up into the folds and quiet down.
Make sure the lid is secure and there are air holes.
Keep the box in a location with comfortable temperatures.
Do not try to feed the bat. They only eat flying insects and
will not initially recognize anything else as food.
Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or
one of the organizations listed in the
"Who do I call"
hyperlink on the Home Page. If
anyone was bitten by the bat, or possibly transferred saliva from
the bat to an open wound, their eyes, mouth, or nose, they need to
seek medical attention immediately.
In that case the bat will need to be saved so it can be
tested to see if it has rabies.
For more information on bats
and rabies please visit the
Centers for Disease
dwelling bats are blown out of a tree during a storm.
This often happens during the maternity season when the young
are clinging to their mother.
In this situation it is best to get the bat (and pups) back
up into the tree. This
can be done by placing the bat (again using leather gloves or thick
cloth towel) high up on the tree trunk about 15-20 minutes after
sunset. If the bat is
placed on the tree trunk during the day, cats, hawks, or other birds
of prey may attack it.
Bats on exterior walls
occasionally found on the sides of buildings or the sides of
screened enclosures. In
most of these cases the bats for some reason did not return to their
regular roost after the previous night of insect hunting (foraging).
The best strategy here is to leave the bat alone and it will
usually fly away the upcoming evening.
If the bat does not fly during the subsequent evening, it may
be sick or injured, and should be captured (as described above) and
transported to a wildlife rehabilitator.