The Spooky Truth About Bats
When most people think of bats, thoughts of vampires, scary movies, and Halloween are the first things that come to mind. However, when you think of bats in your house, you think of a swarm of them in your attic, you imagine them just waiting to fly at you as they get tangled in your hair, causing you to spin in circles with your hands over your head screaming for help!
Reality? Bats are nothing like that. They don't like to be around humans, and will probably never swoop down and bite you! But, that's not to say you should keep one as a pet. There are some things every homeowner should know about these nocturnal animals.
We want to help keep you safe and happy (and also have a little Halloween fall fun in the office) so, our team decided to talk about scary, spooky bats in this edition of the Killingsworth blog!
1. Bats are hungry little guys
One bat can eat 1,200 insects in one hour, and a group of 100 bats can knock out a quarter-million mosquitos and other small insects in a night. On top of this, they have a knack for pollinating plants and dispersing seeds, adding to the variety of life in the world!
Basically, while bats are at the all you can eat buffet every night, they are making your backyard more comfortable by keeping disease-carrying mosquitos at bay and enhancing the ecosystem.
2. And, bats want to be left alone
Bats don't want to be in your house. There is no food or water for them in there. And they don't want to swarm you and fly in your hair and bite your neck and turn you into a vampire. When a bat is in your house, they are usually lost, confused, and looking for a way out.
Opening a window will help a bat find its way back outside. Bats are not blind, they use echolocation, like a dolphin, so they can sense the open window and zip right out.
3. Don't try to catch the bat yourself
Bats have really small teeth and will avoid you if possible. However, if they are cornered and feel pressured, they may bite you.
Now, it is rare that a bat will have rabies, so it's unlikely you will contract it in the case you're bit, but you'll still have to get shots in the ER if the little bat tries to turn you into a vampire!
Even if you've been really close to a bat and you don't think you've been bit, you should still always get a check-up just in case (as rabies can be fatal).
If you decide to go rogue and catch the bat yourself, wear thick clothes and thick gloves so that it won't be able to bite through the thick material.
4. Call a professional
Even if you catch it, if a bat is in your home, then your home has a hidden entry for bats to get in.
For example, August is the most popular month for bats to enter your living space because this is when baby bats begin to fly. If these young bats sneak in your home, they are lost and confused.
When this happens, they will call for their mothers, and their moms will also go into your house. If the space is comfortable for them, they may use it as a safe place to avoid predators and build a colony.
A bat colony can be anywhere from 20-200 bats. And bats are extremely quiet, so you'll never know they are there. An inspection is worth the money. Bat guano (feces) and urine smells awful and is very corrosive to wood and metal.
5. Signs that you have bats
Since bats are so quiet, you are not likely to ever see them in your house. When a bat gets into your house, they enter and hide in a space as small as 3/8 of an inch. They are flexible and agile little guys.
Look and listen for these things:
- A small, scratching noise in the morning and in the evening. At dusk, bats will return to roost, and at dawn, they will head out for their evening dinner.
- A distinct and strong smell. Bat guano and urine smell strong. Like feces and ammonia.
- If you have had two or more encounters of bats flying around your house, you may have bats ' call a professional.
- Check your attic and your roof for bat guano. Bat guano looks like dark brown grains of rice. And when looking on your roof, look around overhangs and where boards may have shrunk, warped, or have loosened over time. These are common spots for bats to enter your home.
6. The dangers of bats
Bats are great at eating mosquitos and controlling other insects and pests, but they are also (unfortunately) great at spreading disease when they live in your house.
Here are a couple of the dangers of bats:
- Bats carry lots of pathogens that are harmful to humans. And, since bats cluster close together, they pass along disease quite easily to each other. Just another reason it is imperative that they don't enter your house and risk passing the disease along to you and your family.
- Bats are known for carrying rabies. Though it's not common to get rabies from a bat, it's still possible. If you encounter a bat, you should get tested, even if you don't think you've been bitten.
- Even breathing air through the air vents in your house can cause you to become sick. An infectious disease, called histoplasmosis, is caused by inhaling the spores of the fungus found in bat droppings. After about 10 days of exposure, you might feel flu-like symptoms and should seek help.
If you think you may have bats, or any other type of wildlife, in your home, schedule a service with our wildlife control team at Killingsworth!
Our wildlife technicians have a lot of experience with bats, as well as squirrels, birds, raccoons, opossums, snakes, foxes, and skunks. We will safely remove them and get them back to their home where they belong.