Bats In Your Home?
In summertime, with hot, humid weather, 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 very hot summer days, an attic may become too warm for the bats, forcing them out and sometimes 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.
What's a homeowner to do?
Fortunately, a single bat flying in a room can usually be dealt with quite easily. Open an outside window or door in the room containing the bat and close off the rest of the room from the house. It's usually 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 when handled. 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 and not released. Contact local health officials for assistance in evaluating potential rabies risk and submitting the bat to the Department of Public Health for rabies testing.
Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats are the most likely bat 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. Due to recent catastrophic mortalities of bats from White Nose Syndrome (WNS), MassWildlife biologists would like reports of summer bat colony (10 bats or more) locations. More information on bat mortality. Waiting to evict the colony allows time for any young bats to mature and leave the house on their own.
Learn how to evict bats safely or live with them using MassWildlife's "A Homeowner's Guide to Bats" . 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. There is also information on the 9 kinds of bats living in Massachusetts.
To receive a hard copy of the booklet by mail, send a business size, self-addressed, 59 cent stamped envelope to: Bat Booklet, MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westboro, MA 01581. Homeowners who wish to hire someone to safely evict a bat colony can find a list of licensed Problem Animal Control agents.
Need information on endangered bats in Massachusetts? The following fact sheets focus on bats listed on the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) list.