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Okay, you found a bat; what should you do?

JACKSON, Wyo. – Wyoming is home to 18 species of bats that sometimes cross paths with humans. What you should do if you find a bat depends largely on where and how the bat was found.

Wyoming Game and Fish non-game mammal biologist Nichole Bjornlie shares some important info on the subject of bats. Here’s what she had to say:

Non-game mammal biologist Nichole Bjornlie. Photo: Courtesy WGFD

First off, if you find a bat, do not touch or handle it. Bats can transmit rabies prior to having symptoms, and, like any wild animal, can act aggressively if they feel threatened. Anyone bitten by a bat should seek medical attention and try to safely contain the bat for testing.

If a bat is inside an unused part of buildings—like the rafters of a shed, barn or attic, installing one-way doors for about a week will let the bats fly out but not back in. They are best-used in the late summer or early fall.

Over the summer, females may become separated from their young—called pups—by a one-way door. Since the pups can’t fly and need to nurse several times each night, they will not survive alone.

If a bat gets into a house, open a window and shut the room off from the rest of the house overnight. The bat should fly out on its own.

Bats sometimes are reported on the outside of buildings and during the day. It’s not unusual to see a bat roosting, or even flying, in daylight. An active daytime bat is likely searching for a place to sleep. If a bat is spotted sleeping, leave it alone. Bats flying during the winter could be a sign of white-nose syndrome, a disease in bats. Report these sightings to Game and Fish.

If you find an injured bat, call Game and Fish. People should not attempt to rehabilitate a bat nor keep it as a pet. That is illegal without a permit from Game and Fish.

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