I Found a Dead Bat in my Yard! What Should I do?

Biologist holds a PA native bat species, the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Biologist holds a PA native bat species, the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)

Bats are a much needed part of the ecosystem, so learning to live harmoniously with the cute, flying, fuzz balls in your area is important. Bats are some of the most significant insect repellants; saving farmers around $1billion a year in pest control! Every night, one bat will eat its own weight in the pesky bugs that we hate! They are also pollinators and seed dispersers. Unfortunately, they do carry some diseases and a fungus called White Nose Syndrome is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. If you find a dead bat in your yard, here’s what to do!

  1. Contact the nearest field office for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (visit www.fws.gov/offices for their contact information).
  2. Take a picture of the bat (include close ups of the face and wings) and send to the Field Officer. These photos can be used to determine the species of the bat (in case it is a protected species) and can help identify if the bat died from White Nose Syndrome or a different issue.
    1. Examine the wing and back of the bat to see if there is any banding or small electronic device. If there is, let the field officer know so that they can identify the previously caught bat.
  3. For proper disposal (if the field officer suggests you dispose of it on your own) use a trowel to scoop it up, or wear disposable gloves to pick the bat up and put it into a plastic bag. If you wore gloves, put them in a bag and then put both the glove and bat bag into another plastic bag, spray with disinfectant and put it all in the garbage. Wash hands well, even if you do not think your skin came in contact with the animal.
    1. Bats are a Rabies Vector Species (not EVERY bat has this disease, but you always want to be careful) and can carry other diseases, so avoid touching the bat with bare hands! If you think that you were bitten or exposed to bat saliva/guano, seek medical attention, especially if you are experiencing a fever, chills, headache or nausea!

Here are some great links for further reading!

White Nose Syndrome FAQ

http://www.cdc.gov/features/bats/

www.savethebats.org

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