Wildlife Education - Information and Advice for the Safe Removal of Bats from Attics

How to Catch a Bat Flying Around Inside Your House

GOOD OPTIONS:
1) Watch the bat, and wait for it to land, then drape a towel over it and bunch it up in the towel, then bring it outside and unfold the towel.
2) If it lands on an unobstructed wall or floor, place a plastic container over the bat, then slide paper under the container to trap it.
3) Open windows and doors and wait for it to fly out (might not work very well, but worth a try).

BAD OPTIONS:
1) Attempt to catch the bat on the wing, with a butterfly or fishing net - this will very likely result in injury for the bat, and it'll be difficult.
2) Swing at the bat with a tennis racket or baseball bat. This is how rednecks address the problem.
3) Place a bucket of water in the room, and wait for the thirsty bat to drown itself - this rarely works.
4) Run away and hope the problem will solve itself- the bat will either die of exhaustion or injury, or it'll just find its way elsewhere in your house.

Though it is not common to find bats inside an inhabited home a bat can get lost and inside your house. You'll see it flying around in the living room or bedroom or kitchen, and for many people this is a cause for great alarm! The bat that has gone into your house is almost certainly a member of an existing colony of bats that is already living in your attic or walls - many people don't know this, because many people don't even know they have bats for the first year or two, until the colony grows in size. Female bats are the ones that you will find in the attics of buildings where they give birth to a single baby. There are three kinds of bats which are the most common in the United States. These are the Big Brown bat and the Little Brown Myotis, both which live in the north, while in the southern states you will find the Mexican Free-tailed bat. It's most likely one of these species flying in your house.

Bats are not the animals that people make them out to be. They are not going to attack you. They are not going to fly into your hair. They won't suck your blood! In fact, having bats around your property is a good thing. They will help you control pests like mosquitoes because that is one of their food sources. A single bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes a day. However, it aint going to find any mosquitoes in your house, and it's not good for bat or you to have one flying inside the living quarters.



The Bat Is Already In The House Fling Around
If the bat has already made its way inside your home, then there are a few ways that you can catch the bat. An important note would be to never try to do so with your bare hands. If you need to use your hands, protect them with thick gloves, especially those made of a more solid material like leather, to ensure that a bite cannot get through. If there is a door or a window available that leads to the outside, open it and the bat may just fly out. If the bat still will not leave, then wait until it lands. It is much easier to grab or catch bats when they are on a surface, than in the air.

Catching The Bat
The easiest way to catch a bat will be to use a thick cloth or a towel. Toss the towel in a careful manner over the bat in a net-throwing motion. Once the bat is under the towel, scoop it up, making sure to wrap the bat inside. Be sure not to crush it! Bats are fragile, and their wings are made of very thin finger bones. Do not take your gloves off just because the bat is in the towel. You will hear a clicking noise which means that the bat is scared and will probably try to bite through your towel. If the bat is not on a flat surface but rather hanging from the ceiling or on your wall, take a bowl or can or clear tupperware container that is big enough to trap the bat, and then take paper and slide it between the wall and the bat. Make sure not to pinch the bat. The bat is now trapped in the container.

Once you have the bat inside the towel or container, bring it outside (some states do mandate that a bat inside is killed and tested for rabies). You can put the towel or the container on the ground if you want. Make sure that the door is closed so that it does not fly right back inside. Once you remove the towel you will be able to see the bat on the ground. Do not remove it all the way, just enough for you to see the bat. The bat should get out and fly away, although it might struggle at liftoff. If it is having trouble, keep in mind that it is not easy for a bat to take off from the ground. I prefer to toss the bat up in the air to help it take off. If the bat will not come out it may just be scared or tired, so push the container or towel as close to a tree as possible. Or let it go near a tree so it can climb and have a takeoff point.

Once you get the bat out of your home, you need to address the underlying problem. You likely have a colony of bats living in your home somewhere. You do not want to solve the problem with bat trapping, nor do you want to attempt to kill the bats with poison. You want to perform a proper live bat exclusion, which is easier and more effective than either of these bad methods. Go to my main bats in the attic home page for complete instructions. HELP: If you need professional help in How To Catch A Bat Flying Around Inside Your House, please click on my Hiring Advice and 2013 Directory of Bat Removal Professionals serving every city in the USA.

Remember, do not attempt to kill a bat in your house with a tennis racket or flyswatter or shotgun. It's a lot easier to wait for the bat to land - just be patient - and then safely pick it up and bring it outside. And don't worry, the bat will not fly into your hair and get stuck while you're waiting around for it to land.

You Need Them Out Of Your House
While it is helpful to have bats in your home surrounding area, you do not want them inside your house even if it is a room that you do not go into, such as the attic. According to the CDC there are a few diseases that bats can give to people. The one disease that everyone knows is rabies. Bats can transmit rabies with exposure to a human through a bite from a rabid animal. If the animal’s saliva comes into contact with people’s mouths, nose, eyes or a fresh wound, it can also be transmitted. Another disease which bats carry is histoplasmosis which can be transmitted when fungi grow on the guano (bat droppings). The symptoms of histoplasmosis can vary from person to person but people with a weakened immune system are at a higher risk.

Where Are The Bats Coming Into The House From
The first thing you need to do is to prevent the bats coming into your house. In order to do that you must first find out where the bats are coming in from. Usually bats will come into a house or a building through the highest available entry point, although in some occasions when they get lost, they will use a door or window. Now keep in mind that even though their wings can be long, bats are actually small and can fit through very small spaces. If you have a hole on the side of your home that is two thirds of an inch, that may be enough for a small bat to get through.

Please be kind to bats! They are valuable animals, not aggressive, and they are vulnerable!
If you have any questions about bats in attics, just email me at david@batsintheattic.org