Jan 12

Bats In The Attic: 5 Tips For Humane Removal

As a veterinarian I often receive calls from homeowners who are confused about what to do when they find an injured animal in their household. Yes – most of the time these animals are considered household pests, however, if you find an injured animal in your house please call your local veterinarian for advice on what you can do.

A very common animal found in homes around the US (especially in attic spaces) is the Mexican free-tailed bat. I often tell homeowners that the important thing is to not cause any harm to a bat that has entered your home. The following five tips are all safe and reliable ways to remove a bat from your attic,  without harming it or putting yourself in danger.

1. Let it find its own way out.

A single bat can easily find its way out, and you just need to move items away from roof slopes so no access point becomes blocked. If there are any windows in the attic, leave these open to provide another exit route for the bat, and close them as soon as possible after the bats leave.

Don’t wave your arms around or try swatting the bat because it will only become confused and may not be able to find it’s own way out in a confused state. Although bats never attack humans, they have been known to bite in self defence if they think they are under attack.

2. Catching bats.

A bat will be harmed if you try to catch it mid flight, so wait until it lands on something before attempting to remove it. You can trap a resting bat simply by placing a small box over it and then sliding a piece of thin cardboard underneath the box; keep holding the cardboard in place until you get outside, where you can safely release the bat.

Wear a pair of gloves if you intend handling a bat, and be very gentle to make sure it does not get injured.

3. Look for hibernating bats in the attic.

In winter there is a small chance that you might get a colony of bats in the attic because they seek cool and dark places for hibernation. Bats require moisture, and on mild days a hibernating bat might fly around to find water. Before removing a bat in winter you should take a look into crevices and narrow spaces to see if there are hibernating bats in the attic.

4. Protect your water supply.

Never use poison to get rid of bats in the attic because this poses a threat to your health if the poison somehow enters your drinking water supply. Keep toxic chemicals away from your water system and be sure that your water tanks are kept covered at all times. Here is another reason to NOT use poison: it’s illegal to poison bats (they are endangered in North America) and you may face criminal fines if you do so.

5. Prevent bats entering the attic.

Bats can get into an attic through a very narrow space and it’s not always easy to see where they have entered. Placing items in the attic up against the roof slopes can help to block up their access.

The best form of control is prevention, so make sure that you seal up all access holes once you have successfully removed the bats.

If you do get bats in your attic, use a humane method to remove them and be aware of the dangers of using bat poison. When bats are safely released back into the wild, there is always a chance that one or more might return, but this should not be a problem if you remember to seal all entry holes once they have left your attic.

One last piece of advice: please remember to call your local veterinarian for advice if you’re still unsure of what to do if you find bats (or any other living creature) distressed in any part of your home – animals should have equal rights as humans do, and should be removed from a home in the safest way possible.