Lets start by stating the obvious, bats typically will not attack. In fact, just like any other wild animal they prefer to stay away from people! So where do the beliefs that bats bite people come from? Mostly it is due to lack of proper knowledge or due to some ideas instilled in us from popular movies. But a bat will only bite you when it feels threatened. Almost everyone who has ever got bit by a bat was either trying to pick up a bat on the ground or they got too close to bat pups and got attacked by their mother.
So what is true about bats, and what are the myths that we need to bust? Are they really aggressive creatures of the night that suck on people’s blood or are they animals that truly deserve to be protected under the law as an endangered species? Here are some things that will help us understand more about bats, and the best way to deal with a bat invasion especially in the Michigan area where bats seem to be present throughout the year.
Facts about Michigan bats.
Ever had an evening walk and noticed bats flying around your head? They are following the insects buzzing around you because that’s what they eat. Most people would be scared because they heard that bats intentionally try to get entangled in people’s hair but this is absolutely not true. In fact if you ever see a bat swooping close by, you should probably be thankful because it may have just eaten a mosquito that would have infected you with the West Nile virus!
Michigan bats survive on a strict insect diet, they are never interested in your blood. The only areas with vampire bats are South Mexico and some parts of central America. Even these vampire bats only prefer blood from pigs and cows. If a bat bites you it as a means of self defense. This is why we stress that you must never try to pick up a bat.
Bats belong to the ‘chiroptera’ family, which is a word that means ‘hand wing’. They are the only mammals that can fly.
Bats are not blind! They have a set of eyes and some of the species look quite adorable actually. They use echolocation to know the exact location of tiny insects at night so you can rest assured they will not bump into you. Even in the darkness they know exactly where you are.
Bat guano can carry the histoplasmosis fungi, therefore should not be inhaled. It is best to always wear gloves and a face mask when handling bats and their feces.
When a bat bites you it feels like tiny, sharp needles are pricking you. It is very hard for the pain to go unnoticed. You must immediately seek medical advice to deal with a possible infection, but we can once again mention that you can prevent the bite by staying away from a bat until wildlife control experts arrive to deal with it. It is important to capture the bat if you have been bitten by it or get a 24 hour emergency service to come and get it so it can be tested for rabies.
What should I do when I see bats flying around my home?
Contact a wildlife control company immediately. They have the right equipment to get rid of the bats plus their guano and to completely bat proof your home to prevent further invasions. The good thing about hiring experts for this job is that they will know how to evict all the bats. If you try to seal up your house by yourself you could end up trapping bats inside your home, something that will lead to dead rotting bats inside your vents, besides, it is forbidden by the law in many states. Bats should only be excluded using humane means.
Should I ever handle a bat found on the ground?
A bat that is not flying could be seriously sick or injured. A sick bat, especially one that has rabies is not afraid of humans. Rabies is one of the common diseases carried by bats, and an infected bat tends to isolate itself. It could however attack when it feels threatened so trying to pick it up would not be your best option. Unless you have the protection of heavy gloves, you must never try to handle a bat! Note that they do not come at you with their teeth bared baying for your blood, you are the one that tries to get into their ‘personal space’ before getting bit.
The best thing you can do in such a scenario however, is to call for the services of a wildlife control company. Although the rate of rabies infection from bats is very low, if a rabid bat bites you the results would be potentially fatal. If you cannot immediately get them to your place, then use the net and very thick gloves.
Did you know that sometimes you could have a colony of bats around and you wouldn’t even be aware of it? They are very quiet, preferring to leave their roosting place only at night. It is only the scratching and chirping that sometimes sells them out. Most of our clients at Bat Removal and Prevention Inc usually get shocked when we evict a whole colony of bats when they had thought there was only one or two bats in their attic.
Michigan bats play a very important role in the environment in that they control the insect population. Do not be scared of them thinking that they are out to attack and bite you, although you must be extra careful when they are around your home. Instead of using crude extermination methods just contact Bat Removal and Prevention Inc so we can evict the animals and bat proof your house. Bats may not bite you intentionally, but there is risk of a rabies infection or contracting diseases from their droppings! So do bats bite humans? Yes but it is rare and typically due to improper handling.