Less than 1% of bats in nature have rabies, but bats that act strangely or contact humans are up to 10 times more likely to have rabies. Humans can get rabies by exposure to bat saliva through a bite or scratch. Rabies is 100% preventable in humans with proper medical care, but it's almost always fatal if untreated. Rabies is fatal to bats, too.
If you see a dead bat or a bat that is behaving strangely, such as being aggressive, lying on the ground, flying near, or making contact with people, tell a park ranger right away, and do not touch it.
If you or someone nearby has contact with a bat, then you need to take action to prevent rabies.
The 4 Cs of Rabies Prevention
1. COLLECT the bat safely to be tested for rabies; don't let it go. Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt. Trap the bat in a container. Ask for help from park staff. Then immediately...
2. CONTACT a park ranger.
3. CLEAN the contacted area of skin with soap and water, even if you don't see a wound.
4. CONSULT with a healthcare provider. Remember: Rabies is 100% preventable with proper medical care.
Bats play a vital role in One Health, by helping to maintain healthy environments for other animals and people. Bats also rely on healthy environments and deserve our appreciation and protection.We're all linked in OneHealth.
Ravenswood Media produced an excellent video that describes the relationship between people, bats, and rablies: Protect People, Protect Bats, Avoid Rabies!
Last updated: June 24, 2020