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Bats are the world's only true flying mammal. They are also highly skilled insectivores. Bats do a lot of good in controlling insects, however most folks would still prefer that they roost in the wild rather than make their home in someone's attic!

Bats enter homes because well-protected attics become very hot in summer and act as an incubator for young bat pups. By sealing holes in your attic from October to April, you can prevent bats from re-entering your house in the spring. By acting within this time frame, you don't have to worry about unintentionally trapping nursing maternal colonies inside your home since destroying even a single maternity colony can have a long-term impact on local bat and insect populations.

First look for places where bats enter homes. Bats enter attics through loosely-screened vents, roof peaks and where flashing has pulled away around dormers, roofing or siding. Bats can crawl through holes the size of a quarter. To cover louvered vents or large gaps and cracks, use window screening or Stuf-Fit Copper Wool. Fill smaller cracks with expanding foam insulation or caulking compound.

Facts about Bats

A long time ago, people used to think bats were birds without feathers. But now we know that there is no such thing as a featherless bird. We know that bats are MAMMALS, just like people.

Some of the things that tell us bats are mammals:

  • bats are warm blooded
  • bats nurse their babies with milk
  • bats have fur

But bats are very special mammals. They are the only mammals that can fly (without an airplane!) Flying squirrels are mammals too, but they don't really fly. They jump from high in a tree glide through the air like a kite. Bats flap their wings and fly like a bird.

By emitting high-pitched sounds and listening to the echoes, also known as sonar, bats locate prey and other nearby objects. This is the process of echolocation, an ability they share with dolphins and whales.

Although the eyes of most bat species are small and poorly developed, their sense of vision is typically very good, especially at long distances, beyond the range of echolocation. It has even been discovered that some species are able to detect ultraviolet light. Their senses of smell and hearing are excellent.

Because their wings are much thinner than those of birds, bats can maneuver more quickly and more precisely than birds. The surface of their wings are also equipped with touch-sensitive receptors on small bumps called Merkel cells, found in most mammals, including humans. But these sensitive areas are different in bats as each bump has a tiny hair in the center,[2] making it even more sensitive, and allowing the bat to detect and collect information about the air flowing over its wings.

A single bat can live over 20 years, but the bat population growth is limited by the slow birth rate, with most having just one or two pups a year.

Only 0.5% of bats carry rabies. However, of the very few cases of rabies reported in the United States every year, most are caused by bat bites. Although most bats do not have rabies, those that do may be clumsy, disoriented, and unable to fly, which makes it more likely that they will come into contact with humans. Although one should not have an unreasonable fear of bats, one should avoid handling them or having them in one's living space, as with any wild animal. If a bat is found in living quarters near a child, mentally handicapped person, intoxicated person, sleeping person, or pet, the person or pet should receive immediate medical attention for rabies. Bats have very small teeth and can bite a sleeping person without necessarily being felt. There is evidence that it is possible for the bat rabies virus to infect victims purely through airborne transmission, without direct physical contact of the victim with the bat itself.

If a bat is found in a house and the possibility of exposure cannot be ruled out, the bat should be sequestered and an animal control officer called immediately, so that the bat can be analysed. This also applies if the bat is found dead. If it is certain that nobody has been exposed to the bat, it should be removed from the house. The best way to do this is to close all the doors and windows to the room except one to the outside. The bat should soon leave.

Due to the risk of rabies and also due to health problems related to their faecal droppings (guano), bats should be excluded from inhabited parts of houses.

Things to consider when bat-proofing your home

If you choose to do the "bat-proofing" yourself, here are some suggestions. Carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats entry into your living quarters. Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch should be caulked. Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft-guards beneath doors to attics, fill electrical and plumbing holes with Stuf-Fit Copper wool or caulking, and ensure that all doors to the outside close tightly.

  • During summer, many young bats are unable to fly. If you exclude adult bats during this time, the young may be trapped inside and die or make their way into living quarters. Thus, if possible, avoid exclusion from May through August.
  • Most bats leave in the fall or winter to hibernate, so these are the best times to "bat-proof" your home.

Additional "bat-proofing" can prevent bats from roosting in attics or buildings by covering outside entry points. Observe where the bats exit at dusk and exclude them by loosely hanging clear plastic sheeting or bird netting over these areas. Bats can crawl out and leave, but cannot re-enter. After the bats have been excluded, the openings can be permanently sealed.

How Can I Safely Capture A Bat In My Home?

If a bat is present in your home and you cannot rule out the possibility of exposure, leave the bat alone and contact an animal-control or public health agency for assistance. If professional help is unavailable, use precautions to capture the bat safely, as described below.

What you will need:

  • eather work gloves (put them on)
  • small box or coffee can
  • piece of cardboard
  • tape

When the bat lands, approach it slowly, while wearing the gloves, and place the box or coffee can over it. Slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container securely, and punch small holes in the cardboard, allowing the bat to breathe. Contact your health department or animal-control authority to make arrangements for rabies testing.

If you see a bat in your home and you are sure no human or pet exposure has occurred, confine the bat to a room by closing all doors and windows leading out of the room except those to the outside. The bat will probably leave soon. If not, it can be caught, as described, and released outdoors away from people and pets.
 

 

 




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