Bats

Important notes:

Bats can carry the rabies virus. Never handle a bat with bare hands; always wear protective gloves. If you are bitten or scratched, or you are unsure, please contact your doctor or public health department right away and do not release the bat (keep the bat in a container until you receive further instructions).

Bats are extremely quick and agile flyers who are difficult to catch in flight. Trying to catch a bat when its flying can result in damage to its delicate wings. Follow the directions below to capture a bat once it has landed on a surface.

Bats Found During Winter

Bats in the care of the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary—continuing hibernation in the fridge.

Bats in the care of the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary—continuing hibernation in the fridge.

All Ontario species of bats hibernate. The Big Brown Bat is the most likely to hibernate in attics (other species are likely to hibernate in caves). Despite its name, an adult “big” brown bat can weigh less than 20 g in the winter.

Bats can awaken from hibernation due to extreme temperature fluctuations and somehow find their way from an attic into a building. In some cases, a bat can be returned to hibernation but in most cases, a bat found awake during the winter will be underweight and dehydrated, and will need treatment at a wildlife rehabilitation centre until it can be released in the spring.

To contain a bat:

  1. Isolate the bat in one room/area.
  2. Prepare a plastic container by poking holes in the lid.
  3. When the bat lands, put the container over the bat (be sure to wear protective gloves).
  4. Gently slide the lid underneath and upend the container so the bat is on the bottom. Put a small cloth in the container for the bat to hide in and make sure the lid is secure.
  5. Keep in a cool, quiet and protected area until you can reach a wildlife rehabilitator.

Once the bat is contained, please contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice and to assess the bat’s condition.

 Bats Found During Spring, Summer or Fall

Big Brown Bat

Big Brown Bat

If you find a bat inside your home during other seasons, it can be excluded safely. Don’t resort to poisons, noxious sprays or home remedies like bright lights, loud noises, ultrasonic rodent repellers or mothballs. Instead, follow the instructions below.

Night:

  1. Isolate the bat in one room/area.
  2. Open doors and windows to the outside, turn on all outdoor lights and turn off indoor lights. The bat will be attracted to the outdoor lights where insects are often flying and it will fly out of the room.
  3. Watch the exits to ensure that the bat has left.

Day:

  1. Prepare a plastic container by poking holes in the lid.
  2. When the bat lands, put the container over the bat.
  3. Gently slide the lid underneath and upend the container so the bat is on the bottom. Put a small cloth in the container for the bat to hide in and make sure the lid is secure.
  4. Keep in a cool, quiet and protected area until dark. At night, take the bat outside, open the container and slide the bat out onto a tree or surface at least six feet from the ground (bats cannot take off from the ground).
  5. The bat will fly away once it has warmed itself by shivering.
  6. If the bat does not fly away in the next hour or so, it is advisable to recapture the bat and call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for advice.

Bat Houses

Bats can eat thousands of insects each night. Considering installing a bat house on your property? Visit Whispering Hollow Crafts to learn more.