- There are at least 9 species of bats in Alberta, 2 of which are endangered because of the threat of white-nose syndrome.
- Bats are naturally shy of humans.
- Bats are not blind, and have an excellent navigation system. This, combined with their natural aversion to humans, means that it is unlikely that they will dive at people, get tangled in long hair or attack pets, contrary to popular belief.
- Bats are an important component of our ecosystem and are beneficial to people. As insectivores, bats feed heavily on moths, flies and mosquitoes and consume forest and farm pests. In fact, a single little brown bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour.
Bats and your pets
- Generally, having bats living nearby does not present a health risk to you or your pets.
- Bats, like cats, dogs, foxes and skunks, can have rabies. Bats with the rabies virus will behave unusually.
- Be extremely wary of bats that are active in the day or that seem unable to fly – they could be injured, sick or a young bat learning to fly. Although very few bats in Alberta have rabies, it is always best to be cautious. If you see a bat behaving this way, keep children and pets away and ask to speak with a biologist at the nearest fish and wildlife office.
- If you see a bat flying in the winter, or find a dead bat in the winter or spring with signs of White-nose Syndrome (such as a white powdery substance around the nose, ears or wings), contact a biologist at the nearest fish and wildlife office.
- Never attempt to handle bats without heavy leather gloves. Like any animal, bats will bite to defend themselves.
- If there is a concern about rabies, call the Rabies Hotline at 1-844-427-6847.
- If a person is bitten by a bat, contact Alberta Health Link at 811 as soon as possible.
- If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to rabies, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- For additional information on what to do when you see a bat, see: Bats in Alberta: What to do if you find a bat
- More information can be found here Rabies in Animals
What to do about bats on your property
- If a bat is sleeping on the outside of a building, leave it alone. It will fly away by nightfall when it wakes up to feed.
- Bats that accidently get inside the house will most likely find their way out if you leave a window or door open.
- A sleeping or inactive bat can also be captured by covering it with a large, empty coffee can and gently sliding a piece of cardboard between the can and the surface the bat is sleeping on.
- If it is daytime, leave the bat in a dark area and release it at night, or place it in a tree or other sheltered area so the bat can leave on its own.
- If it is night time, take the coffee can outside and set it on table or something else elevated (not on the ground) and let the bat fly away.
- To give the bat a chance to fly away safely, make sure children and pets stay inside when you release it.
- When the bat is in mid-flight, do not attempt to capture it or to swat at it using a broom or stick. You will injure the bat.
- Some bat species roost in buildings and can enter through an opening as small as 3/8 inch in diameter. Bats do not chew holes in houses, they take advantage of existing holes to enter and exit a structure.
Evicting bats from a building
If you must evict bats that are roosting in a building, there are several important points to consider.
- Little brown bats, which are the most common species found roosting in buildings, are endangered in Alberta. This means that, by law, they cannot be disturbed during the time they are raising their pups - between June 1 and September 1. In the fall, bats leave the roost to go to hibernation sites.
- You need to identify entrance holes into the building and seal them only after bats have left in the fall.
- It is illegal to kill bats in Alberta; plugging holes when bats are in the roost will result in bats being sealed in the roost. Even if holes are plugged at night when the adult bats are out feeding, there may still be flightless pups that will be sealed in the roost.
- Attempting to eradicate or physically remove bats from a building is not a solution. It is almost impossible to remove all the bats and could result in harm or even death to the bats. It will not prevent other bats from using the roost at a later date if all the entry points are not properly sealed.
- If there are health or safety concerns (for example: bats getting into living space) and it is not possible to wait until the fall to exclude bats, contact your nearest Fish and Wildlife office.
- Visit Alberta Community Bat Program Bats in Buildings for comprehensive information about managing bats in buildings, including how and when to safely exclude bats.
- If you need to remove bats from a building but would like to encourage bats to roost on your property, consider putting up a bat house. Visit the Alberta Community Bat Program Bat Houses for details about building and mounting bat houses.
- Roosting bats create guano. If the guano is outside it can be swept away. If it is inside, precautions should be taken because in rare, humid situations, a fungus called Histomplasma capsulatum can grow on the guano. Spores of this fungus, if inhaled, can cause a lung infection called histoplasmosis. It is best to wear a mask and spray the guano with 1:10 bleach and water solution to keep down dust and kill the fungus.
For more information on bats or for a list of wildlife rehabilitation facilities that take injured bats, contact:
While fish and wildlife officers strive to help where they can, they are generally only able to respond to incidents where there is a concern for public safety. Primarily, this means situations where bears, cougars and moose are in a populated area, where someone has been injured or threatened by dangerous wildlife, or where livestock or pets have been killed by predators.
Connect with a Fish and Wildlife office near you:
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