Health Department advises residents to keep an eye out for bats in the home

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Eau Claire City-County Health Department is advising people to take steps to bat-proof their homes.

This comes as the health department is getting increased reports of bat sightings in the area.

The sightings bring about concerns to the health of residents, with rabies being the main disease to look out for.

“So our main concern with bats is rabies. In terms of Wisconsin, it’s, you know, one of the leading carriers of of rabies,” said Nolan Fadness. He is an environmental health specialist with the health department.

“Bats would be the greatest percentage of calls we get. Without a doubt,” said Jared Hanson. He is one of the owners of Prompt Action Pest Control in Altoona.

He explains how bats can get into your home.

“A bat can find a very, very small crack, about three, six, seven inch crack to enter a home,” said Hanson.

What can you do if you do come across a bat in your home?

“First we have to figure out whether or not anyone in the home has been exposed,” said Fadness. “If you woke up and there was a bat in your room, if a child, a pet, an intoxicated person, someone with an intellectual disability, if they were unattended in a room and we found a bat in that room, we’d also consider that an exposure.”

Fadness also adds, “if you just happened to see a bat coming in, you know, in the middle of the day in your living room, we wouldn’t consider that an exposure.”

Bats are small enough to fit in tiny spaces, and because of this it can be hard to keep them out.

“Sealing up your home. Making sure your screens are in good condition, going around your house, looking for cracks or gaps,” said Fadness.

If there is a bat in your home there are ways to help lead it back outside.

“The best thing to do to get the bat out of the house is to open up the back door and front door and turn off all the other airflow in the house... It’s actually more afraid of you than you are of it. Believe it or not,” said Hanson about trying to get a bat out of your home. “The best thing is to have a professional or inspect the entire house and do the sealing necessary to to keep them out.”

Experts advise anyone trying to capture a bat in the home to wear enough protection to reduce any risk of bites.

“You want to wear a jacket of some kind, the thick jacket along with thick leather gloves just to make sure that we don’t we reduce the risk of, you know, that bat biting and biting through and contacting skin and breaking skin,” said Hanson.

And if you do capture a bat, the health department asks that you bring it in for testing.

“Let us know that you’ll be bringing the bat in and then we can send it off to get tested for rabies,” said Fadness.

Experts do want to remind everyone that it is illegal to kill bats because they are a protected species.