Bat Flying in Your House?

Every once in awhile, bats may accidentally fly into your house through an open door or window. In the late summer, young bats sometimes make bad choices or get turned around and find themselves inside your home. Let's help them get back outside!

A couple of things to keep in mind if you have a bat in your house:

  1. Don't panic!
  2. Bats are not blind.
  3. Bats do not attack people.
  4. Like any wild animal, a bat can bite if threatened so do not touch a bat with your bare hands.

If someone was bitten by the bat, try to capture the bat while wearing thick work gloves and closing off all exits to other rooms. If the bat is not flying, capture it by using a box or small container. Place the container over the bat, slide a piece of cardboard or magazine under the container, gently causing the bat to fall into the container while closing off the opening.

If the bat is flying around, a butterfly net is useful if available, however a towel may also be helpful. You may also want to just wait until the bat stops flying, but keep watching it to see where it might land. Contact your local animal control officer and notify them that someone was bitten and the bat needs to be tested immediately. If the test comes back positive for rabies, seek medical attention through your local emergency health care provider.

If you are unable to capture the bat, but someone was bitten, seek medical attention immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone that comes in direct, unprotected, contact with wild mammals should receive rabies post-exposure treatment from a health-care provider, if the animal is not able to be caught and tested. Rabies post-exposure treatment should also be administered in situations in which there is a reasonable probability that such contact occurred (e.g., a sleeping person awakes to find a bat in the room or an adult witnesses a bat in the room with a previously unattended child, mentally disabled person, or an intoxicated person).

Not bitten by the bat? Great! Let's get that bat back outside so it can return to eating lots of insects. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Don't panic! The bat is flying around to find a way out. It is NOT trying to attack anyone.
  2. Turn on the lights (if you haven't already), so that both you and the bat can navigate around easily.
  3. Keep the bat from entering other parts of the house- close any doors that lead to adjoining rooms.
  4. Open all doors and windows in the room with the bat that lead to the outside. Keep these exit routes clear.
  5. Be patient and enjoy observing such an amazing animal. In most cases, the bat will fly back outside within a few minutes.

If the room does not have a direct exit to outside: use a mesh net or towel to gently catch the bat in flight while also wearing thick work gloves. If the bat has landed you may can place a container over the bat, slide a piece of cardboard along the surface, under the container to gently drop the bat into the container and cover the opening as well. Take the bat in the container/net outside. Open the container on its side, in the air or against a tree. Let the bat climb or fly out. Do not leave the container with the bat on the ground, it's not a safe place for bats and it's difficult for them to take flight.

Thanks for helping out our bat friends! Please take a moment to learn some fun facts about bats and dispel many myths.

© 2012 Organization for Bat Conservation