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Bats in Florida

What to Do If You Find One

flying-batis home to a variety of creatures. Some that you might be top of mind when you think of the Sunshine State are bats but in fact at least 13 species of bats can be found here. While bats can provide a crucial benefit to the environment by being a natural pest controller, they can still pose some risks. Just a few decades ago, bats were seen as incredibly dangerous, but as of late, people have started to embrace them and their abilities to keep a variety of pests under control. Some people even go as far as building bat houses on their property to encourage bats to thrive. However, whatever your feelings about these flying creatures, you may at some point in your life have to call a pest professional to deal with them. To understand when bats may become a problem instead of a positive on your property, you need to learn about the species that call Florida home and why they do what they do.

Florida Bats

While there are 13 native species of bats that can be found in Florida, it’s estimated that there are another 7 or so that are rare but have also been spotted in the state. There are some species that only reside in Florida part of the year or occupy a small footprint here. The most common species of bats in the state are:

  • Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis)
  • Brazilian (Mexican) free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
  • Seminole bat (Lasiurus seminolus)
  • Southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius)
  • Evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis)
  • Northern yellow bat (Lasiurus intermedius)

The two most common species found in Florida are the Brazilian free-tailed bat and the Evening bat. The Evening bat makes its home in bat houses, hollow trees, buildings, bridges, and utility poles. They are colonial creatures and typically have colonies of less than 100. They feed on insects and only grow to just over 2.5 inches with a wingspan of 11 inches. The Brazilian free-tailed bat, the state’s most common, is named as such for its tail which extends further than the membrane. These bats are similar in size, ranging from 2.2 to 2.9 inches with a maximum wingspan of 13 inches. The Brazilian free-tailed bat is also colonial though their colonies tend to be in the hundreds or thousands and they prefer to roost in man-made buildings and structures.

Dangers of Bats

While bats can offer benefits to your property, there are some real dangers associated with them as well. One of the top concerns is the spread of rabies. The more bats you have on your property, the more risk for disease. Specifically, in parts of Florida, rabies warnings have been issued in relation to bats. Rabies is a disease which is spread through saliva and can infect humans and other animals through a bite, scratch, or transfer of saliva to a pre-existing wound. If you have small children or pets on your property, the risk is even greater. While rabies is treatable, if it’s not caught and treated, it can be fatal. There’s no real way to tell if a bat has rabies or not. The only confirmation would be if it was tested after it was killed somehow. You should never try to handle a bat in case it does have rabies. While they are not aggressive and will likely avoid you, coming into contact with one that is infected is dangerous.

How to Handle a Bat in the Home

Bats can turn up in several places throughout your home. In fact, you may have bats in your home right now and not even know. They could be roosting in a secluded place that you never access. Not until you find one in the living space in your home does your problem with bats become apparent. Whether it’s tucked into the corner of a closet or flying around your living room, no one wants to deal with a bat inside the home. However, if you do find a bat in a spot where you need to get it out of, there are a few things to remember:

  1. Never handle a bat. While only a small percentage of bats are actually infected with rabies, you never want to take the chance of contracting it. Never handle a bat just in case.
  2. Wait for it to be still. If the bat is flying around, you’re going to hurt yourself, the bat, or your home while trying to catch it. Wait until it is still before attempting to trap it. If it’s moving, it could get agitated by your trapping attempts and be forced to bite.
  3. Trap the bat. With gloved hands, take a box or other container and simply trap the bat so that you can relocate it outside. It might take a few tries, but you’ll get it!
  4. Release it at night. Release the bat outdoors at night and watch it leave. If you notice that it doesn’t seem to be ok to fly or escape, you may need to call a rehabilitation to assess and remove it as it could be injured.

If you find yourself in a position where you have multiple bats in the home or causing a nuisance on the property, it might be time to call in the professionals. While bats do offer a variety of benefits, they can still become pests. Whether it’s bats, rats, or any other kind of pest, Impact Pest Elimination can help. Our pest control experts are ready to handle your job.

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