What to do if a bat is found, dead or alive

Liz Ciocea

Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society (GROWLS)

Tuesday, August 16 2016

Bats are the only reservoir for rabies in BC so it is important to take precautions when encountering a bat. If you handle bats a rabies vaccine is strongly advised. Bats prefer to rest or roost hanging upside down and above the ground, so if you find a bat on the ground, you can suspect the bat is dehydrated, injured or ill. 

Avoid handling bats. 

If handling of a live bat is necessary, wear thick leather gloves that a bat cannot bite through or scoop the bat into a container without touching it.

If you find a dead bat cover your hands with gloves or plastic bags to handle dead bats. 

Always handle dead bats with gloves (disposable vinyl or nitrile gloves are ideal) or a plastic bag over your hand. 

Wrap the dead bat in a couple of paper towels to provide cushioning and to retain moisture. 

Place the wrapped bat in a Ziploc bag and that in another Ziploc bag (double bag) as a precaution. 

Call GROWLS Emergency Number 250 714-7101 and GROWLS will assist you and advise you who to call to seek professional advice from your doctors, public health authority, and/or veterinarian, who will then be responsible for risk management (i.e. vaccination, submitting the bat for rabies testing etc.). Recently a dead bat found on Gabriola tested positive for rabies.