Bat in the house? Capture it.

A state Depatment of Health video about how to capture a bat in a home.

From the folder marked "flying mammals and did you just see that... no, over there... oh, crap" and an Albany County press release:

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy today is reminding residents to protect themselves from rabies by safely capturing any bat found in their home and bringing it to the Albany County Department of Health to have it tested for the disease and avoid any unnecessary vaccinations.
The County Department of Health has received multiple calls in recent months from residents concerned about potential exposure to rabies due to contact with bats, which is typical during the spring and summer months. ...
County residents are encouraged to use the below steps to safely capture any bats in their homes so they can be tested for rabies in a lab. If you are unable to trap it, you should be vaccinated at the Albany County Department of Health at 175 Green Street, Albany, NY 12202.
• Use caution
• If indoors, close all windows, room and closet doors, turn on the lights and wait for the bat to land.
• While wearing heavy gloves approach the bat slowly and carefully and cover the bat with a pail, coffee can, or similar container.
• Slide a piece of cardboard or lid under the container to trap the bat inside and tape the container shut.
Residents can "batproof" their home with polypropylene bird netting, fly screening, sheet metal, wood or various caulking compounds to close or cover openings that allow entry for bats to roost. House bats can pass through crevices as thin as a pencil.

As the press release notes, a small percentage of bats have rabies, but it's hard to tell which ones do by appearance and the consequences can be serious.

Here's the county health department's "Capture the Bat" info page. Nightmare fuel snippet: "People should be aware that bats have small sharp teeth, which may not leave a visible bite mark, and a bite from a bat during the night may not awaken a sleeping person."

And there's the state Department of Environmental Conservation's page about little brown bats, the most common bat in New York State and usually not pose a danger to humans. In fact, they can be quite helpful -- they eat many, many mosquitoes.

See also: Bats of New York.


Unrealistic. Last bat I had drove my cat instantly insane as it zipped around the ceiling. The cat didn't know what it was, but she was going to stop at nothing to catch it, and that included biting and clawing me to be able to stay in the room. It didn't help that i was screaming like a 8 year old girl while crawling around on the floor, wildly swinging a tennis racket over my head.

We did this once, captured a bat in the middle of the day while it was sleeping on a windowsill. As we were slipping the cardboard under it, it woke up and hissed at us with its little mouth and sharp teeth. It was pretty heart-stopping and there was indeed much yelling.

Bats can't take off from the ground, so usually land on a high spot like a curtain rod, from which they will drop down to pick up speed to start flying. I sneak up from below the curtain rod with a towel and catch the bat in it as it drops, then close up the towel and release the bat outside. Works every time.

I have long admired the woman in this video, and have even advised my sons that they should find someone like this to be their lifemate.

here is an easy fix, we've done it once or twice in the past. open second story of skylight windows and turn on all of the lights in the area where the bat is flying, it will be gone pronto!

Sure, you *could* do things the logical way. Or you could do things the way I did and grab a large cookie sheet to carry over your head while you open the back and front doors, hoping the bat will eventually stop doing laps around the dining room and leave from one of the open doors.
It eventually left...about 20 minutes and lots of wimpering from me later.

Any animal tested for rabies must be killed first (to test brain tissue). You'd be better off just opening all the doors and windows, turning on the lights, and the bat will figure it out. Bats don't really want anything to do with humans, but the lights we use in/around our homes attract bugs, which are a main food source for bats.

Be aware that bat bites are extremly difficult to detect and rabies can be transmitted in other ways. If you wake up with a bat in your bedroom you are considered “exposed”. The same for finding a bat with an unsupervised child, a mentally challenged person, or someone who is intoxicated. As rabies is almost certainly fatal, you should not just let the bat out of the house in those situations. About 6% of bats who are tested, test positive for rabies.

I can offer one piece of advice: if you have been "exposed" to a bat while sleeping, do not go to the emergency room. We spent about $3000 at Ellis so they could send a fax to the Health Department on Memorial Day. Rabies moves slowly, so you can wait a day or two until you can visit a regular doctor. If you have the bat, you can take it to the Health Department yourself for testing (hint: watch the sloth scene from Zootopia first, it will make the experience funnier and less infuriating), and no medical intervention necessary unless the results are positive. If you don't have the bat, you'll probably need the vaccines - talk to your doctor.

if you don't like that advice, then believe this advice: ONE member of the family should be admitted to the ER, with the others waiting in the waiting room to see how it turns out. With that technique, we could have saved ourselves $1500 in faxing fees. An hour or two of waiting to find out if it's "fax or vax" will not make a difference to your health.

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