Perhaps no other animal evokes as much controversy as the bat. Often mistaken for flying rodents, bats are closer related to humans and other primates than mice, rats, or other rodents.
Bats are the only mammals capable of self-propelled flight and navigate using echolocation to fly at night and in the depths of caverns where there is no light.
Despite these marvelous traits, bats are often the subject of scrutiny. They fall prey to ignorance, and bat safety is at risk, especially regarding how harmful they are mistakenly considered to be to humans.
Because of popular culture, bats are often synonymous with creatures from the occult and mythology, such as vampires. This is partly due to some species of bats feeding on the blood of larger animals such as livestock. Only a few bats feed in this way, native to Central and South America.
The bats common to North America are typically insectivores, meaning that the only blood they drink probably comes as an unwanted byproduct of eating their body weight in mosquitoes every night.
However, bats are wild animals, and though usually shy, bats will defend themselves in the only way they know how if cornered. Like any predatory mammal, bats are equipped with a set of very sharp teeth that they use to eat and protect themselves against attack by biting.
Bat bites are uncommon but have been known to happen, especially if the bat is trapped in an environment it cannot escape or if someone attempts to grab or harass them. Bat bites are dangerous because their teeth are sometimes so small and sharp that you might not know if you have been bitten.
Like any wild animal, bats are susceptible to some forms of the disease, which can be transmitted by contact or bites and scratches. Wild animals that have not been vaccinated against diseases such as rabies are vulnerable to the disease and are potential carriers.
Bats often take the brunt of the fear of getting this disease, even though other infected animals, such as skunks, foxes, coyotes, and dogs, are statistically more likely to transmit the disease through bites, saliva, or scratches. Even cows have a higher percentage of transmitting rabies than bats. That isn’t to say that bats are completely safe when transmitting rabies or other infectious diseases.
As mentioned before, bat bites might go unnoticed, so they should be avoided and left to the professionals to remove if you find one indoors. Since bats try to avoid people, this behavior change might require that bats found inside your home be tested for rabies.
Due to climate change, bats are more commonly affected by fungal growth, which can close up their respiratory systems and eventually kill them. This sort of disease isn’t transmissible to humans, but it has adversely impacted the bat population in North America.
Suppose you have spent summer evenings watching bats snatch moths and insects from the air, usually in the light of a street lamp or other light source. In that case, you already know how nimble and agile bats are when flying. Bats are very shy animals using their echolocation; they are like little daredevils when it comes to maneuvering in pitch-black conditions.
Bats are very careful to avoid people, but sometimes they get into trouble, swooping in too closely out of curiosity or to get a bug out of the air. If bats connect with people or animals, it is usually because they misjudge the distance between themselves and the person they contact, more often than not getting caught in someone’s hair or clothing.
Cavers or urban explorers might encounter a colony of bats and inadvertently disturb the occupants, causing chaos when the bats try to escape. Like most social animals, some colony members might try to defend themselves as they try to escape, or at the very least confused, to allow their family to get away. Unless a bat is sick or provoked, the chances of actually being attacked by one are very low.
Still, giving these animals distance as such bat safety is important and not stressing them out.
Disturbing a bat can have consequences, as they are animals that are equipped to defend themselves, just like you and me. But putting a bat into a situation where they become aggressive is very hard on the bat. For an individual, stress can lead to erratic behavior and panic, which could cause them to injure themselves.
Disturbing a colony of bats, especially during late spring and early summer when they are giving birth to pups, can lead to mass abandonment of bat offspring and needless deaths of an entire young generation. Bats provide lots of benefits regarding pest control, pollination, and ecological diversity. When bat colonies are wiped out, the ripple effect on the rest of the ecosystem is difficult to gauge.
If you encounter a bat colony, it is best to leave it undisturbed, not only for your safety but for the bat safety as well.
Call on the professionals for Bat Safety
Bats are an important part of our environment and benefit humans in ways we are only beginning to understand. Through study and preservation, we can know these amazing animals beyond the dark history that ignorance and superstition have created for bats.
If you encounter a bat, the best thing to do is to leave it alone, provide an exit for the bat to make its way to the outside, and avoid provocation by touching or handling it. Bat safety is important, they are wild creatures that must be respected as such.
Central Plains Bat Removal is a service that uses humane techniques to capture and remove bats to prevent them from harming or harming humans. We are outfitted with protective gear, current information about bat identification and behavior, and an understanding of how to effectively remove and relocate these animals.
Contact us if you want to know more about our services.