Letter: Bats and Rabies

Dear Editor,

As summer winds down, you may find some expected guests in your home – bats! This time of year, juvenile, or young, bats are venturing off on their own and slipping into small cracks or gaps that may be found on the outside of your home. 

If you find a bat in your home and you have been bitten, or if you’re unsure if you have been bitten, it is important to act immediately. Bats can have and transmit rabies! 

While you may be tempted to chase the bat out of your home, it’s important that the bat is captured and you notify Tioga County Public Health. Do not release or dispose of the bat. If the bat is thrown away, destroyed or released, there is no way of knowing if your family was exposed to rabies. 

To safely catch a bat, close all windows and doors, turn on all the lights, and wait for the bat to land. While wearing heavy gloves use a pail, coffee can, or similar container to trap the bat and cover it with a small board or top. Call Tioga County Public Health at (607) 687-8600. Do not bring the bat to the health department.

To prevent bats from entering the home, inspect the outside of your home for gaps or holes. Bats can fit through openings as small as 1 inch by 3/8 inches. It is important to seal up every possible entrance, as bats prefer to return to the same roost year after year.

If you or someone you know comes in contact with any animal believed to have rabies, get as much information as you can. To report an animal bite, visit ph.tiogacountyny.gov or call (607) 687-8600. On holidays, weekends or after-hours, call the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office at (607) 687-1010.


Laura Bennett

Public Health Educator, Tioga County Public Health Department

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