Interesting Bat Facts
In general, bats are not dangerous. Like anyother mammal, they can carry rabies, althoughless than 1 percent of all bats are infected with thevirus. More people die annually from dog attacks,bee stings, lightning and household accidents thanfrom bat-transmitted rabies.
Bats do not get caught in people’s hair. Batsthat swoop near people are usually after insectssuch as mosquitoes.
A single little brown bat can eat 1200 mosquitoesin an hour.
There are almost 1,000 different species of batsin the world, but only 8 are found in Connecticut.
Only 3 species of bats feed on animal blood.These vampire bats prefer to drink cattle blood andare only found in Latin America.
The smallest bat is the size of a small mouse;the largest, a fruit eater, has a 6-foot wingspan.
Bats have varied diets: 70 percent eat insects;many tropical species eat fruit or drink flowernectar; some bats even catch frogs and fish.
The presence of bats can be detected in severalways. At dusk, when bats leave roosts to feed,they may be seen exiting through eaves, vents orfrom behind shutters or siding. Noise from largecolonies may also announce their presence.Droppings and dark brown stains may appear neareaves and beneath entrance holes and roosts. Batdroppings (guano) are easily crushed, revealingshiny bits of undigested insects. They are neverwhite or chalky in appearance, as are the drop-pings of birds.The 2 most common bats involved in nuisancecomplaints are the little brown bat and the bigbrown bat. The little brown bat ranges from 3.1 to3.7 inches in length and has a wingspan of 8.6 to10.5 inches. Big brown bats range from 4.1 to 4.8inches in length, with a wingspan of 12.1 to 12.9inches. Big brown bats can readily be distin-guished from little brown bats in flight by theirlarger size, slow wingbeats and audible chatter.A single bat that enters a home can often beremoved easily. Closing off doorways to the roomcontaining the bat and opening a window willusually prompt the bat to fly outside. A large jar orcan may also be used to remove a bat. Movetoward the bat slowly so that it is not startled andgently place the can over it. Slide stiff paper orcardboard under the can’s opening, using it as a lidwhen removing the bat. Heavy leather glovesshould be used to remove a bat by hand. Bats,like all wild animals, may bite when handled andshould not be removed bare-handed. Rememberthat bats, like other mammals, may be a source ofrabies. The rabies virus is found in saliva and maybe transmitted through the bite of an infectedanimal.
If you are accidentally bitten whilehandling a bat, make sure the bat is saved forexamination. Immediately wash the bite withsoap and water and seek prompt medicaladvice.
Non-bite exposures can also occur andshould be treated in the same manner as a bite. Anon-bite exposure occurs when saliva or braintissue from an infected animal enters scratches,abrasions, open wounds or mucous membranes(nose, mouth, eyes).Most colonies of bats are small and often remainunnoticed for many years. Large colonies residingin an attic or wall may become a nuisance becauseof noise and unsightly guano accumulations.Eviction and exclusion of roosting bats are the onlysafe, permanent solutions to a nuisance problem.Numerous repellents and techniques may be usedin an effort to evict nuisance bats.
Mothballs (napthalene)placed in mesh bags may be hung in attics todiscourage bats but are of limited value. Theeffectiveness of napthalene depends to a greatextent on the amount of ventilation in a given roost;the better the ventilation, the lower the effective-ness. Napthalene also poses health risks tohumans when used in quantity. Aerosol dog andcat repellents are useful in limited situations suchas discouraging the use of a particular nightroosting spot. They should never be applied whilethe bats are present. Direct contact is harmful tothe bats and may cause them to fly at the “at-tacker” in their haste to get away.
Several mechanicalrepellents may help discourage bats. They areusually safer to humans than chemical repellents.Illumination of an attic or eaves with floodlightsoften discourages residence. Attics may also becooled with fans to make the temperature unsuit-able for roosting. Ultrasonic devices are seldomsuccessful.