Bat In The House?
With hot, humid weather in full swing, some Bay State homeowners may discover bats residing in their home! Attics are the most common portion of a house in which bats roost and raise their young. After a few hot summer days, an attic becomes too warm for the bats, forcing them into people's living quarters as they search for cooler places to roost. Inexperienced young bats may fall down a chimney, fly in open windows or down attic stairs. The discovery of a bat flying through the house can create anything from excitement to hysteria. What's a homeowner to do?
Fortunately, a single bat flying in a room can commonly be dealt with quite easily. Put away that broom or tennis racket and close off the room containing the bat and open an outside window or door in that room. It's commonly only a matter of a few minutes of circling before the bat locates the open window and leaves the house. Bats do not attack people or fly into people's hair. If a bat has landed, it can be assisted out of a house in several ways. For a bat on a curtain, place a jar, coffee can or small box over the bat, carefully working the animal into the container, and cover it. A bat on the floor can be covered with a towel. Another method is to put on leather gloves and simply pick up the bat and release it outdoors-don't use cotton gloves or handle a bat with bare hands. Whatever method is used, don't worry when the bat squeaks loudly as you handle it. Take the bat outdoors and release it.
If anyone has had direct contact with a bat or if a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person, the bat should be safely captured. Contact local health officials for assistance in evaluating potential rabies risk and submitting the bat to the Department of Public Health for rabies testing.
If a homeowner discovers a bat colony in his or her home there are several options that can be considered. Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats are the most likely species to be found in buildings. In some cases, with small numbers of bats, people don't mind their presence and concentrate on blocking holes and cracks leading into the human living quarters. Where there is a large colony in house walls, biologists recommend that homeowners wait to initiate eviction proceedings until the first week of August through November. Waiting until late summer and fall to evict the colony allows time for young bats to mature and leave the house on their own.
The do-it-yourself homeowner can learn how to evict bats safely with "A Homeowner's Guide to Bats" (pdf) booklet available from MassWildlife. This publication contains tips on handling a bat in the house, designs for one-way doors, bat house plans, and a key to identifying the nine bat species in Massachusetts. The booklet is available in the Wildlife area of the agency website and is also available in hard copy at MassWildlife District Offices and the Westborough Field Headquarters.
To receive a hard copy of the booklet, send a business sized, self-addressed, 60 cent stamped envelope to: Bat Booklet, MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westboro, MA 01581. Homeowners who wish to hire someone to evict a bat colony can find a list of licensed Problem Animal Control agents in the Wildlife area of MassWildlife's website.
Posted by: Kelly Source