Bat Handling

Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management | Handling

Lone Bat Encounters

Occasionally, lone bats are found inside houses. Watch the bat and try to close it off in a small section/room of the building, as finding a bat again is extremely difficult. Close doors, cabinets, closets, and windows to reduce potential hiding areas and possible escapes. Wear leather gloves and take a wide-mouthed plastic storage container or tube. Wait for the bat to tire and land. DO NOT LEAVE THE ROOM. When the bat lands, place the storage container or tube over the bat. Slide a lid or thin piece of cardboard between the bat and the wall, trapping the bat inside the container. Tape the cover in place. If the bat is to be tested for rabies, the head must not be damaged.

A 2-inch-diameter tube attached to a pillow case makes an excellent device to capture a bat resting on a wall. Photo by UNL.

Check if any people have been exposed to the bat. If you are certain there has been no human exposure, release the bat outdoors on a surface at least 5 feet above the ground. Familiarize yourself with the rabies submission procedure.


Bats can be released outside on the same property they were captured, provided they have not bitten people or pets and there was no chance of human rabies exposure (see Wildlife Disease section). Bats should be released on a tree at least 5 feet above the ground. Bats should not be relocated to another property. There is no value in relocating bats, as they can easily return if they chose to.


Bats are a rabies vector species. Moving them is not recommended.


Some bats are protected, and all are beneficial to the environment. Bats should only be euthanized if they are ill, or if a potential rabies exposure has occurred.


All bats that may have been exposed to people or pets should be tested for rabies. Other bats need to be disposed of in accordance with local ordinances. In most cases, bats can be disposed of by burying them in the ground to a depth that won’t be dug up by other animals (approximately 12 inches or more).

Sanitation and Cleanup

After bats are excluded, or have departed at the end of the summer, take measures to make re-infestation less likely, and to eliminate odor and bioaerosols. It sometimes is useful to apply a pyrethrum-based, total-release, aerosol insecticide to eliminate unwanted arthropods. Read and follow the label to make certain the pesticide is labeled for both the target pest and the site where it will be applied.

Safe handling and removal of bat guano has been discussed previously. In addition to the bulky accumulations of excreta, often diffuse deposits of guano occur under and among insulation materials, caked urine and guano on roof beams, and splattered urine on windows. Such clean-up work during hot summer weather may be the least desirable activity of a management program, but it is necessary.

All caked or crystallized bat urine and droppings should be scraped and wire-brushed from all roof and attic beams. For this procedure, workers should take the same precautions as outlined for histoplasmosis-related work. Accumulated excreta and contaminated insulation should be sealed in plastic bags and removed for disposal in accordance with state and local laws. Remove all remaining droppings and debris with a vacuum cleaner, preferably one that has a water filter to reduce the amount of dust that escapes in the exhaust. Wash all contaminated surfaces with soap and water. Allow the surfaces to dry and disinfect them by misting or swabbing on a solution of 1 part household bleach and 20 parts tap water. Ventilate the roost site to allow odors and moisture to escape. Installation of tight-fitting window screens, roof and/or wall ventilators in attics will enhance this process. Sanitation and cleanup accompanies bat-proofing and exclusion measures; it does not replace them.