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What to do if you've found a bat

Never handle a bat with bare hands and do not attempt to rehabilitate the bat on your own.
To do so could jeopardize your safety as well as the life of the bat.

Bats and Rabies: Addressing Concerns


One common concern regarding bats is the possibility of contracting rabies. It's important to note that while bats can indeed contract rabies, the actual occurrence is quite rare. Less than 0.5% of bats are affected by this disease. Moreover, it's crucial to understand that sick bats do not actively seek out humans for attack. Instead, they typically search for a secluded place to quietly pass away.


According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), simply seeing a bat in an attic, cave, or from a distance does not put you at risk of contracting rabies. Additionally, there is no risk of contracting rabies from bat guano, blood, urine, or even touching a bat's fur (although it is recommended to avoid handling bats altogether).


However, if you are bitten by a bat or if bat saliva enters your eyes, nose, or mouth, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. Whenever possible, the bat should be captured and sent to a laboratory for testing. Furthermore, if a bat is found in a room with someone who cannot confirm they had no physical contact (such as a sleeping person, a child, a mentally disabled person, or an intoxicated person), it is necessary to have the bat tested for rabies. If contact is suspected or has occurred, please contact your personal physician or local health department without delay. If no contact has occurred, you can follow the provided links for step-by-step instructions on safely rescuing the bat.


Remember, while the risk of contracting rabies from bats is low, it is always better to err on the side of caution and seek appropriate medical advice when necessary.  More about bats in Louisiana here.

I found a bat in my home.  Now what?

When encountering a bat indoors, it is highly likely that it belongs to a crevice-dwelling species. These bats typically have fur colors ranging from gray to brown. It's important to note that these bats are often young or migrating individuals who have become lost. In many cases, they will find their way out through an open window or door. To assist a bat in finding its way out of a room, turn off the lights and shine a flashlight beam towards the open door. Ensure that all other room doors are closed, leaving only the exit to the outside open. If this option is not available, and you are confident in your ability to handle the bat without causing harm, proceed to step one. Otherwise, proceed to step five.


Exercise caution and wait for the bat to become motionless.

Capturing a bat while it is in flight can be quite challenging and increases the risk of causing harm to the bat. Furthermore, bats caught in mid-air often become agitated and may resort to biting. It is advisable to exercise patience and wait for the bat to land and settle before proceeding to the next step.




Safely Secure the Bat

Approach the bat calmly and quietly, ensuring you are wearing thick gloves or using a thick towel for protection. Carefully gather the bat, holding it securely but not tightly, and place it into a box or a similar container with a lid. Alternatively, you can place a box, waste can, coffee can, or any similar object over the bat where it has landed. To safely transfer the bat, gently slide a piece of cardboard between the box and the surface the bat is on (such as the floor, wall, or ceiling). Once the cardboard is in place, carefully turn the container right side up. If you capture the bat during the day, proceed to step 5. If it is captured at night and does not appear to be a baby bat, move on to step 3. Please remember not to place the bat in a bird cage or any container with small openings, as bats are highly intelligent and can easily escape through a crack as small as 1/4 x 1/2 inches.





Release the bat outdoors at nightfall

After capturing the bat, carefully take the container outside. Remember to bring a flashlight and either a towel or gloves in case the bat needs assistance in flying away. Look for a raised area, such as a deck or ladder, and hold the container above your head. Tilt it slightly to allow the bat to fly out (please note that a bat cannot fly out if the container is on the ground in an upright position). Proceed to step 4. (Please avoid releasing the bat during the day or in unfavorable weather conditions. Instead, move on to step 5).





Observe the Bat's Departure

Using a flashlight, carefully observe the bat as it flies away. If the bat does not fly away or appears to struggle in its attempts to do so, it is likely injured or ill. It may be a young bat that is disoriented or it could be dehydrated or malnourished from being trapped indoors. In such cases, use a towel or gloves (avoid bare hands) to gently collect the bat. Place it in a closed container and keep it in a secure location away from children, pets, fire ants, or any other potential hazards. Proceed to step 5.



Call us at 337-501-4523 and transport the bat to us for proper care:

220 Cambridge Drive

Lafayette, LA 70503

I Found a bat outside. Now what?


Foliage-roosting bats are known for their beautiful fur, ranging in shades of red, yellow, tan, or even with frosted white highlights. During early summer, you may come across these bats on the ground as mothers move their young or following attacks by blue jays or storms. It's important to note that these bats may display defensive behavior, such as spreading their wings or making hissing or clicking sounds when humans approach. If you don't feel confident in safely handling the bat, please refer to step five. 

If the bat is gray or brown, it is likely a crevice-dwelling species. These bats found outdoors and grounded will require examination and care from a wildlife rehabilitator.

Using the method outlined in our "I found a bat in my home" guidelines, carefully place the bat into a container.

Proceed to step five if you are unsure about safely moving the bat.


Remember, it's crucial to prioritize your safety and the well-being of the bat. If you feel uncertain about the rescue process, don't hesitate to seek assistance from a professional wildlife rehabilitator.

Ensure the bat's safety by preventing it from being attacked by other animals such as domestic pets, fire ants, or blue jays. Assign someone to keep watch over the bat. If the bat remains calm and motionless, move on to step 2. If the bat becomes agitated, follow step 5.



Avoid using your hands to handle the bat.

Instead, gently touch a small tree branch (approximately two or three feet long) to the bat's feet. This should trigger a reflex causing the bat to grip the branch with its toes. Lift the branch carefully to examine the bat or a mother bat with her babies for any injuries. If no injuries are apparent and the infants are securely clinging to the mother, proceed to step 3. If injuries are observed, move on to step 5.



Slowly relocate the bats to the branches of a nearby tree.

Exercise extreme caution to prevent startling a mother bat and causing her to abandon her young. Using a ladder, carefully place the branch in a position within the tree where the bats are concealed by foliage and leaves. The spot should be on a branch at least eight feet above the ground, with a clear space below for the bat to take flight. (Avoid placing the bats in the same tree where the attack occurred and ensure there are no visible bird nests in the tree.) Proceed to step 4.



Keep a close watch on the area.

Check the location the next morning. If the bat remains in the same position overnight, it may have an undetected injury or illness. If the mother bat is absent but her babies are present, it is possible that they have been abandoned. Proceed to step 5.


Call us at 337-501-4523 and transport the bat to us for proper care:

220 Cambridge Drive

Lafayette, LA 70503

The information provided here was produced and shared with permission from Bat World Sanctuary.


If you’ve found a grounded bat or a bat hanging down low,

use puncture-proof gloves or a thick cloth to scoop the bat up, and

place it inside of a cardboard box with a lid.

Leave a cloth in the box, and a very shallow dish of water (similar to a jar lid.)


Secure the lid shut and place the box

somewhere indoors, away from children and pets.
DO NOT handle the bat barehanded, do not feed, do not release the bat.

Call us at 1-337-501-4523

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