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Rabies in batsBat encounters are concerning because a bite or scratch from a bat can be difficult or impossible to see. That's why it is important that everyone be educated about rabies in bats, and what to do if you find a bat in your home.

Got a bat in your house? Don’t panic.
If there’s a chance that a person or pet in your house had contact with a bat, the most important thing to do is capture that bat and have it tested for rabies. If the bat can be caught, it will be sent for rabies testing. If the bat is not rabid, the person or pet who was exposed can avoid rabies shots. If the bat is rabid, life-saving vaccines must begin soon.

How to Capture a Bat
To learn how to safely capture a bat, watch this 80-second video. You’ll need a coffee can, a stiff piece of cardboard and a bit of bravery:

  • Turn on room lights and close the windows.
  • Close the room and closet doors.
  • Wait for the bat to land.
  • Wearing gloves, place a coffee can, pail or similar container over the bat.
  • Slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat. Firmly hold the cardboard in place against the top of the container, turn it right side up and tape the cardboard tightly to the container.

Once you have caught the bat, call the Westchester County Department of Health at 914-813-5000 to learn what to do next.

If you are absolutely certain that no person or pet was exposed to the bat because you saw the bat fly into your house and never lost sight of it, you can close the room and closet doors, open the windows and watch the bat until it leaves. You can also call a Licensed - Registered Trapper or your local police department/animal control officer for help.

Rabies in Bats:
Rabid bats may show abnormal behavior, such as outdoor activity during daylight. Rabid bats may be grounded, paralyzed or may bite
a person or animal. Not all rabid bats act abnormally, but bats that do are more likely to have rabies.

Avoid Contact with Bats:
Bats often roost in attics or barns, but they can also be found inside closed patio umbrellas. To avoid exposure to bats, secure doors and windows and close off any small openings that will allow an animal entrance into your home. This includes screening, chimneys, attic vents, and air conditioners.

General Rabies Prevention Tips:

  • Avoid contact with wildlife, stray animals or unknown pets
  • Bat-proof your home
  • Vaccinate your pets
  • Keep your dog on a leash
  • Keep your cat inside
  • Do not provide food or shelter for wildlife.

Other Resources: