Experts warn bat season has started

Posted at 7:35 AM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 18:56:17-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's bat season, and this time of year you can find bats making a home under your roof.

"It's becoming more seasonal. This time of the year they're looking for places for the winter to hibernate and stuff like that. They'll tend to look for more sites including your home," said Russell Haden, Environmental Supervisor for Douglas County Health Department.

When a bat comes into a home, a homeowners biggest concern is usually if the bat has rabies and will bite them.

There's already been 5 reports of human exposure to bats with rabies in Douglas and Sarpy County this year. There has also been 9 reported rabid bat cases across Nebraska this year so far.

"As it gets cooler they sneak into houses to keep warm, and sometimes they get stuck, so they're flying around the house and they're flying around your bedroom, hanging on your drapes, and we get pretty inundated with calls this time of year for those animals," said Kelli Brown, Director of Field Operations of Nebraska Humane Society.

Brown and Hadan said that worried homeowners should check their home for gaps in the walls, attics, air conditioning units and vents. She also advises people to leave doors and windows closed.

"Most of the time we find that bites occur when people have handled the bat, which we never recommend, or the bat might be located somewhere where they didn't know about, and they sat on it or touched it on accident and the bat panicked and bit them," said Brown.

Bats, if left alone, are usually harmless and won't bother humans. Brown said some people's initial reaction may be to remove the bat themselves or kill it. She warns against this and urges people to call animal control immediately.

"Bats are actually a protected species so you can't just go around killing them at leisure. We recommend you never kill a bat. If you find one just keep an eye on it and give us a call and we'll pick it up," she said.

If you find bats in your home, Brown says to call Animal Control or any private removal company.