Finding a bat flying around within the living space of a house is not an uncommon occurrence, but it is one that will occasionally cause alarm in those living in the property. When it comes to catching the bat and removing it, this isn't generally a difficult or hazardous task, but it is one that requires a few basic precautions to ensure you remain safe and avoid any health risks.
Give The Bat An Exit Route
If the bat is active and flying around the room then it is probably trying to find its own way out of the room and back to the outdoors. In many cases where a bat if found with a home the owner will need to do very little, and simply giving the bat a route back to the outdoors will often see the little creature making its own way out. Opening a window or door will often see the bat quickly make its way back to its natural environment.
Unfortunately, this will not always be successful as some bats may already be disorientated by the time it is discovered by the homeowner, and in these situations the bat may need a helping hand.
Precautions To Take Before Catching The Bat
One of the first things to do before trying to catch the bat is to minimize the risk of being bitten by the animal, and to keep any direct contact to a minimum. Wearing a pair of medium thickness gloves should protect your hands, and it may also be wise to use a container to try and catch the bat.
If the bat has been in a room with someone who was sleeping or a child or elderly person who may not have felt a bite, once the bat is caught it is wise to take it to be tested for rabies to protect the individual who was in the room with the bat.
Catching The Bat
If the bat is flying quickly around the room then it will often be quite difficult to catch it, so it is best to try and use a larger container like a bucket, and to place it over the bat when it lands on the wall or roof. If the bat is still or crawling, then it should be straightforward to place a container such as a coffee can over the animal. Once this is done, place a piece of cardboard over the lid of the container.
There are some situations where the bat isn't able to be captured in a container, and there is no choice but for people to use their hands to catch the bat. These animals are small and quite fragile, which is why it is best not to wear very thick gloves, as it is easy to crush the little animal. Direct contact with the bat should be kept to a minimum, and it should be transferred to another container or released as quickly as possible.
Releasing The Bat
In most cases the bat will not need too much encouragement to make its way outside and to fly away. Take the bat outdoors and shut the door and any windows to stop the bat from flying back into the property.
When you are taking the bat outside place the container on the ground and give it a moment. If the bat doesn't fly out of the container within a few seconds, gently tip the bat on to the ground. It should quickly regain its bearings, and give a few hops before taking off again. The bat will usually have flown away when given the opportunity, but if the bat is fatigued then it may not be able to take off again. If you release the bat near a tree, it will sometimes climb the tree and then use gravity to help it get airborne again.
Steps Once The Bat Has Been Released
If the bat has bitten anyone, or has been in a room with someone who may not have noticed a small bite, it is best to have them tested for rabies.
It is also worth examining whether there is a bat colony in the roof cavity or in a wall cavity or chimney in your property, especially if you have had more than one bat found in the living area of your home.
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