How to Safely Capture a Bat

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Now I know it can be frightening to have

a bat in your home, but they're also a

really important part of our environment.

Hi, my name's Carrie Klumb. I'm an

epidemiologist and the animal rabies

surveillance coordinator at the

Minnesota Department of Health. Part of

my job is talking to people every day

about their risk of rabies from animals,

including bats. We're at the Wildlife

Rehabilitation Center in Roseville

Minnesota to demonstrate how to safely

capture a bat. The most important piece

of equipment is a solid and clean

container, like a deli-size Tupperware

container or a shoebox. You should add

some breathing holes, but keep them quite

small - less than an eighth of an inch - so

the bat can't squeeze out. If you do use

a box, tape any holes inside and outside

and make sure all the sides are taped.

You should also wear winter or leather

work gloves to protect your hands.

Bats can bite through cloth like

gardening gloves, towels, or sheets. Don't

use items like tennis racquets, shoes, or

baseball bats to smash the bat. If the

bat is fine, make sure someone is

watching it at all times.

Don't try to knock it out of the air or

try to catch it while flying. Catching a

bat in a way that keeps it alive is best

for testing and best for the animal. Once

the bat lands on a surface, place the

hard-sided container over the bat and

slide the lid between the bat and the

surface. Make sure the entire bat is in

the box before securing the lid. If

you've seen a bat in the house and now

you can't locate it, you might be able to

find it by listening for the sounds a bat

makes. Sometimes bats end up in shoes,

jackets, or other items like a purse. You

may find a bat in one of these objects

when you go to put the item on. If this

happens to you, just put the entire item

into a large container like a storage

bin. If you can't find a bin, a garbage

bag will work in a pinch.

Now you've safely captured the bat in a

container. What should you do next? If the

bat seems injured or unhealthy or it's

wintertime, please call the Wildlife

Rehabilitation Center at 651

486-9453 and

they will help you figure out where to

take the bat. If it's summer and the bat

is uninjured and you know that no one

was exposed to the bat and no one was

found sleeping in a room where the bat

was found, it's OK to release it

outside. However if you know that someone

did have physical contact with the bat

or someone was asleep and woke up to the

bat in their room, or you had a very

young child or a vulnerable adult that

couldn't reliably tell you what happened

then we do want you to test the bat for

rabies. We'd like you to call us at

the Minnesota Department of Health at


If you can't reach the Wildlife

Rehabilitation Center or the Minnesota

Department of Health, please keep the bat

in the container and place it in a dark,

quiet, warm area and try calling us again

in the morning. We'd be happy to help