Our bat houses are approved by Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation

Finding a bat around the house - Remember, bats are wild animals and as such, should be treated with the same respect due to other urban or suburban wildlife. People, especially children, should be instructed never to touch bats or other wild animals that are easily approached. Trained wildlife rehabilitators or removal specialists should be called to collect sick or injured wildlife. If immediate action must be taken with a downed bat, wear gloves when handling it, or scoop it into a box or can with a shovel or similar tool. If there is any chance the animal had direct contact with humans, call a local wildlife or public health agency to collect the individual.

 

For sick or injured general wildlife in Pennsylvania: see PA Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators
 
Sick or injured bats in Eastern Pennsylvania: see PA Bat Rescue
 
Our advice for most accidental encounters with bats discovered outside will be to leave the animal where found; do not handle it, take it in, or attempt to care for it.

 

Guano, Urine, and Ectoparasites - Bat guano and urine accumulating in attics and wall spaces can attract arthropods, such as roaches, as well as other pests. The accompanying odor from a large bat roost can be pungent, but not dangerous.  Bat ectoparasites, such as ticks, mites, fleas, and bugs rarely parasitize humans. They are most likely to cause a nuisance after a house has been bat-proofed (parasites left behind after bats are gone). Parasite problems are unlikely except in very, very large, well-established colonies in buildings. Ectoparasites quickly die without their bat hosts. Sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth in areas of concern will significantly reduce ectoparasites as well as many other crawling insects. 

 

Rabies in Bats - Rabies is the only serious public health hazard associated with bats, but its impact has been vastly exaggerated. Far more people die every year from dog attacks, bee stings, power mower accidents, or even from being struck by lightening. Unfortunately, newspaper reports and television coverage of bat bites are often sensational, exaggerated, and grossly inaccurate, perpetuating misleading information. Such misleading accounts often elicit intense public reactions that generate vociferous demands for complete bat destruction.

 

Of 1,100+ bat species, only 6 are known to have transmitted the rabies virus to humans. Between 2009-2018, the most wide-ranging bat house bat throughout most of the U.S., the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), was implicated in one human rabies case, and the next most common, the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), has not been implicated in any case. Mexican-free tails bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) in warm climates account for five cases. Four other cases stem from non-colonial, tree roosting species (Silver haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) and Tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus)) unlikely to ever use bat houses. Airborne transmission of rabies has never been proven and is not a public health hazard with house bats.

 

Nevertheless, any bite from a wild mammal should always be considered as a potential for rabies exposure. Any bite or scratch wounds should be immediately and thoroughly washed with soap and water. Any bat that has bitten a person or pet should be captured, without destroying the head, and placed in a cloth or plastic bag. Bats should be transported under refrigeration (not frozen) to the nearest health laboratory for examination. Anytime a bat bite is suspected (or if a bat is found in a room with an infant or impaired individual who cannot deny a bite exposure) a doctor or public health department should be contacted in order to obtain the post-exposure rabies series immediately.

 

Preventing Rabies Exposure - Most rabies exposures could be avoided if people simply refrained from handling any wild or unfamiliar mammals, including bats, but also foxes, coyotes, skunks, raccoons or domestic cats and dogs. Rabies is always prevented when a person has been vaccinated. Because rabies is almost always fatal in humans once symptoms present themselves, bitten persons need to be immediately treated with post-exposure rabies vaccines. The treatment is 100% effective if received prior to the onset of symptoms. Unprovoked bat attacks on humans are extremely rare, despite exaggerated stories. Bat bites are usually defensive, occurring when people handle sick or moribund individuals. Effective ways to minimize potential human-bat contact include: (1) cautioning the general public not to handle wildlife, (2) exercising care in handling suspected sick wildlife, and (3) supporting mandatory dog and cat rabies vaccinations. Non-vaccinated pets that have been bitten by or happened to consume a rabid animal should be either quarantined or humanely euthanized.

 

Histoplasmosis and Bats - Histoplasmosis is an airborne disease caused by the microscopic spores of soil fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum, which affects the lungs of humans. Many infections in humans actually come from inhaling dust from bird droppings, do not produce symptoms or cause distress. Most bat-related transmissions of histoplasmosis occur in tropical or sub-tropical caves or other large bat roosts. There is a small potential risk of infection to anyone intending to remove bat guano, due to spores released by the disturbance. Pest control operators and others proposing to undertake these tasks on a regular basis should avoid stirring up dust from any animal droppings, wear approved respirators that fit properly and are capable of filtering out particles as small as 2μ in diameter. Dry guano can be dampened with water before its removal to further reduce the hazard of dust inhalation.

Learn more about installing bat houses . . .

Backyard Bat Houses

Learn the differences between our base bat houses suitable for starting backyard bat colonies.

Bat Houses

Siting and Color

Consider the options on where to locate your bat house so it's good for bats and -for you-.

Siting and Color

Installing a Bat House

Trees, buildings, or poles?
Installing a bat house on something high can be a job, here are suggestions on how to move it along.

Install a Bat house

Maintaining a Bat House

Our bat houses are low maintainance, but there are some long term situations to be aware of.

Maintenance

Human Health Concerns

Bats attract more than their fair share of negative press, here are some facts to help prospective bat landlords rest easier.

Human Health Concern