1. Determine if anyone may have been bitten. Don’t assume that just because you can’t see a bite mark that you weren’t bitten. The new protocol says to assume you were bitten unless proven otherwise. Here are the questions you need to consider.
Assume you were bitten if any of the following apply,
a. you woke up in a room with a bat, or anyone sleeping in a room with a bat,
b. an unattended child (approx 8 years old or younger, was in a room with a bat,
c. an unattended person with diminished mental capacity was in a room with a bat,
Further details can be found at Bat Rabies If you have any questions, consult with an infectious disease specialist or a state public health official.
2. If you have determined that someone may have been bitten, then you should capture the bat!! Under no circumstances should you damage the bat’s head. Don’t use tennis rackets or nets. Wait for the bat to tire and land. After donning leather gloves, take a tupperware container with secure lid and capture the bat. Once the bat is inside tape the lid down to be sure it won’t open. Contact health officials and have the bat tested. Failure to follow these directions may result in unnecessary rabies shots.
3. If you know for certain that no one has been bitten by the bat, then you can release the bat outside. Do not kill the bat as it may be a federally protected species.
Option 1. Give it an escape route. Bats will leave on their own to hunt if they have an escape route. Secure rooms and try to direct them to the outdoors. Be sure to WATCH the bat leave. Don’t just open a window and close the door assuming the bat will leave. Watch the bat leave.
Option 2. Wait for the bat to tire as above and capture it. Then once the bat is captured, take it outside and reverse the process on a tree branch that is at least 4 feet off the ground. Do not release the bat on the ground as it is too difficult for them to gain altitude.
Our rule of thumb is two bats in your house in the summer or one bat in the winter means that you are likely to have a colony residing in your house. Read other FAQ’s on how to evict bat colonies from your home.