Rabies and Bat Education
As the weather starts to turn colder animals begin to migrate or find warm places to hibernate. This is true of some species of bats like the Big Brown Bat who will often hibernate in buildings. This in turn increases the risk of human and domestic animal exposure to them. Bats can be infected with rabies and other diseases so it is important to educate ourselves about them and what we can do to decrease contact with them. In recognition of World Rabies Day (September 28, 2014), we would like to draw attention to a few great internet resources:
1. This webpage focuses on educating children about rabies. Children are curious and generally very hands-on, so it is important to educate our kids about what to do if they encounter wildlife such as bats inside the house or while playing outdoors.
2. For adults, here is a link to an excellent resource dealing with what to do if you find a bat in the house:
If you have concerns about the health of the bat or if you find a dead bat, call your nearest CWHC Regional office.
3. Another message we hope to share is that bats are not bad or scary! In fact they are important insectivores and pollinators. A single little brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in a single hour, and is one of the world’s longest-lived mammals for its size, with lifespans of almost 40 years. As this species, along with several others has been hit hard by the emerging disease white nose syndrome, it is more important than ever to raise awareness about bats and the important role they play in our environment. Although not specifically about rabies, this educational and entertaining video gives an overview of why bats tend to carry diseases that infect humans, and why we should not villainize them because of it.
Submitted by Marnie Zimmer, CWHC Western/Northern