If you're wondering whether bats are dangerous to humans or pets, you should know that the short answer to that question is “not if they are left alone.” Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind. In fact they can see almost as well as humans. However, at night, their ears are more important than their eyes - they use a special sonar system called 'echolocation,' meaning they find things using echoes. Because of this, bats have evolved into nocturnal (active at night) mammals. During the day, bats are typically roosting in trees, rock, caves and buildings. They prefer to avoid natural light. If you see a bat during the day, it is best to leave it alone and let it snooze. At dusk, it will fly out to hunt for food which consists of insects such as beetles, moths and mosquitoes - which actually makes them our friends! A bat can eat up to 12,000 mosquitoes in one hour!
While it is true that most cases of rabies being transmitted are due to bats, a low percentage of bats actually carry rabies. Each summer, Animal Care and Control (ACC) receives many phone calls about bats. Typically, these calls are referred to the Health Department to determine if the bat should be left alone or captured and tested. If the bat need to be captured, the Health Department will request ACC catch it. Less than 10% of captured bats test positive for rabies.
People who are unvaccinated for rabies and untrained to handle bats should refrain from doing so. If you find an injured bat, do not attempt to help the animal yourself or touch it in any way. If the bat is in your house, close off that room and call the Health Department.
To help Washington pets and people stay healthy, state law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets, regardless of indoor or outdoor status, be vaccinated. If your pet does not have a current rabies vaccination, please contact your veterinarian to update their shot.
Wenatchee Valley Animal Care and Control (ACC) is a separate LLC of Wenatchee Valley Humane Society and is a government contracted agency. Its mission is to help protect the safety and well-being of the citizens and animals of our jurisdictions through compassion, education and law enforcement. ACC is contracted to provide services for the Cities of Cashmere, Chelan, East Wenatchee, Entiat, Rock Island, Wenatchee, the Town of Waterville and Chelan & Douglas Counties.
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