Bat Situations & Solutions
Because bats are so efficient at controlling many of bothersome insects, it is advantageous to leave them alone. That being said, there are instances where a bat is not welcome, such as inside your home.
A Bat in a Living Space
Unintentionally, bats may enter areas occupied by people through an open window or door, or an opening from a colonized attic or wall. A bat indoors is not necessarily a sick bat—it may be a young bat who tried to follow its mother outside and took a wrong turn or it may have followed a moth through an open window.
An attempt can be made to capture the bat if it lands in a spot where a coffee can or wide-mouthed jar can be safely placed over it. Slide cardboard under the coffee can, leave the bat under the container and notify the local animal control officer or police. It will be transported to the Department of Public Health Laboratory for testing.
A Bat in Child's Room
In all situations where a bat is found in a child's room—or even an adult's room—contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) in Jamaica Plain at 617-983-6800 (available 24-hours a day).
Because a bat's teeth and claws are so small, it's impossible to determine whether someone has been bitten. Therefore, it's up to the MDPH to determine whether you or your child should receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) shots.
A Bat in Other Areas of the Home
Confine the bat to one room by closing doors. Open windows, turn off the lights, and leave the room. Hitting the bat or throwing things at it will cause it to become disoriented making it harder for the bat to find its way out.
Do not try to capture the bat unless there is the possibility it has bitten or scratched someone. Make an attempt only if the bat lands and there is no risk in placing a wide-mouthed jar or coffee can over it. Contact the local animal control officer or police department.
Bat Proofing Your Home
We encourage hospitality towards bats, however if there is a substantial reason to exclude them this should be undertaken only during the month of May, and from mid-August to mid-October. In between those periods young bats could be blocked inside and the decaying bodies will cause a severe odor problem. How to keep bats away >
Finding an Injured Bat
Every now and then during the winter a live bat will be found on the ground outdoors or possibly flying around indoors. No one can assume the reason it emerged from hibernation so it is best to leave it alone and contact a professional.
If the bat is indoors, contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease that's affecting bats in enormous numbers. More than a million of these mammals have died in the Northeast and Canada, and some hibernacula—sites where bats hibernate, like caves—have witnessed a 90-100% decimation in their population. More about WNS & what can be done >
Bats & Public Health
Good judgment will help eliminate the chances of people and wildlife coming in close contact with each other. Bats can carry rabies as well as histoplasmosis. Find out what to do if you have come in contact with a bat.
Bats & the Law
Relocating wildlife is illegal in Massachusetts. It's detrimental to the well-being of the animal as well as the public. Learn more >