AECFV has recently had a bat in the house. The bat was found by a family, and during that short time 2 children were bitten. Due to human exposure the bat was sent for testing with the results coming back positive for rabies.
We urge you not to handle a bat, but if necessary wear gloves. While only a very small percentage of bats have the rabies virus, we urge you to take precautions. Never touch a bat with bare hands. If a pet or a person does come in contact with a bat, we recommend immediately contacting your family veterinarian or your public health office.
- If you find an injured or dead bat that is at risk of coming into contact with people or pets, it should be removed and put somewhere else. Dead bats – may be buried or burned by wearing gloves to put them in a bag or box.
- Sick or injured bats – use leather gloves and a box or butterfly net to capture them, then place them carefully in a pillowcase or fabric shopping bag and then attach to an outside wall with the open end up. This way, the bat can climb up and fly away at night if it is able. Contact www.wildliferescue.ca
- Do not place them in jars or boxes where they cannot fly away (unless there has been risk of a rabies exposure and the bat is being submitted for testing).
Note that juvenile bats roost in odd places such as low on walls or exposed areas of buildings (usually in August). They should be left where they are if possible.
Cats and dogs stand the greatest chance of becoming infected by picking up a diseased animal, because they use their mouths to do so. The best way to protect a pet from rabies is to have them vaccinated.
All 16 species of bats in B.C. are protected from being killed and harassed under the Wildlife Act. Bats are important components of healthy ecosystems and are huge consumers of many different groups of insects including moths, beetles, leafhoppers, and other flying insects that can be pests for agriculture and forestry.
AECFV works closely with Fraser Health as the main veterinary hospital in the Lower Mainland to handle rabies testing submissions.
Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly.
BC has the greatest diversity of bats of any province.
Bats use a lot of energy to fly with their heart rate reaching up to 1000 beats per minute.
Bats rarely carry rabies and will sicken and die if they contract it, unlike some other animals that are unaffected carriers.
Bats are not rodents and are protected under the BC Wildlife Act.
Since the devastating fungus which causes “White Nose Syndrome” was introduced to eastern North America in 2006, an estimated 6 million bats have died.
Half of the sixteen bat species in BC are listed as vulnerable or threatened