The alert is out for Utah residents — parents, in particular — following rabies reports throughout the state. Just last week in Salt Lake City two rabid bats were found in residential areas. One was found where children play, at a skate park, while the other was found on the street. Children and adults should refrain from approaching any bats as they may carry the deadly rabies disease. Not only are humans at risk, but pets are too. Residents should confirm current rabies vaccinations for all pets.
Salt Lake County’s Health Department issued a statement reminding residents that several bat species call the area home. They explain that healthy bats avoid people and don’t generally pose a risk. You may even spot them hanging from trees. However, rabid bats exhibit unusual behavior and may enter environments they don’t typically frequent. They may struggle to fly, which may call forth curious humans.
Utah isn’t the only state with recent rabies reports. Marion County and Polk County in Florida are on two-month rabies surveillance as cases have popped up. Polk County issued a statement in which they advised residents to “prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.” South Carolina, Ohio, and Colorado have also had rabid bat reports over the last month.
Where Do Bats Live?
According to the United States Geological Survey, bats live in most regions throughout the U.S. They seek out a range of environments during the day where they can retreat. They might settle into old buildings, around bridges, or trees. Where they roost varies depending on the species. Some species are solitary while others live in large colonies. Some bats hibernate when winter rolls around while others migrate.
Is It Normal Behavior for Bats to Enter Homes?
Anita Koziarski, Animal Services Officer for the Town of Cary in North Carolina told A-Z-Animals, “There are occasions when bats enter homes. It is not common, but it sometimes happens that a bat accidentally flies in through an open window or door. More often it happens that a colony turns an attic or basement into their home and then occasionally they find their way into the house through cracks. If someone finds a bat in their home, they should not handle it with bare hands or try to catch it themselves. If a bat is found in a room with someone who has been sleeping, they should contact animal control right away. The bat will be euthanized, and anyone exposed should contact their physician right away.” She goes on to suggest prevention methods, including “sealing any entry points, so long as residents follow individual state guidelines.”
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/nymphoenix
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