Do Bats Have Rabies?

Do Bats Have Rabies?

Do bats have rabies? Image of rabies test

Do bats have rabies? Yes. Do ALL bats have rabies? No. Only about two percent of the bat population actually carries rabies. Now, that does not mean rabies is any less dangerous of a disease. If you are ever exposed to a bat scratch or bite, it is best to contact a medical care provider for proper examination and treatment. Even if you wake up to a bat in your bedroom, it is still safest to contact your medical care provider in case the bat scratched or bit you while you were asleep.

Not every case of rabies entails an animal foaming at the mouth with extreme aggression. That can be the case, but other times only by testing the animal can that be determined. The risk of contracting rabies through a bat is low but still possible. Other animals that are capable of contracting and transferring rabies to humans are coyotes, cows, goats, skunks, foxes, dogs, horses, and raccoons. Rabies can be treated if caught in time, so do not wait to go in if you think you have been exposed to the disease. So, what is rabies? Why is it so deadly?

What Is Rabies?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, rabies is a viral infection that infects the central nervous system. Rabies is usually transferred by the bite, or saliva, of the infected mammal. The Center for Disease Control website lists these symptoms of rabies to watch for: insomnia, anxiety, confusion, paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation, difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia. It is vital to seek treatment after being exposed to rabies disease. While there is a rabies vaccine, it is only effective before symptoms appear. The vaccine itself is not cheap.  Rabies shots prices can vary from $8,000 to $13,000 per person for treatment.

A bat removal service is much less expensive and will eliminate the risk of rabies from the home. Nearly everyone has heard about the old rabies vaccinations involving numerous painful injections in the stomach from large needles. Thanks to medical advancements, that is no longer the procedure. Generally, the rabies vaccination consists of four doses of the medication, which means only four shots are needed. The first shot is given on the day you are exposed to the disease. After the first shot, you will return three days later for the second dosage of the vaccine. The third dose is given on the seventh day, one week, after the exposure to the disease. The final dose of the rabies vaccine is given on the fourteenth day after exposure.

If the vaccine is administered before the onset of symptoms, the disease should be easily prevented by the medication. If symptoms set in before you seek treatment, the chance of the disease becoming fatal is extremely high. Rabies is an incredibly dangerous disease and should be taken seriously if there is ever a chance you have been exposed to it.

Bats and Rabies

Keep in mind that bats do not intentionally seek to attack humans. Bats will not go out of their way to bite and attack you. A bat will only bite out of self-defense if it is cornered and scared. Simply having a bat flying around in the house does not mean you have rabies. A human must be bitten or be exposed to the saliva of an infected bat to contract the disease. That is why if you ever wake up to a bat in your bedroom, you should contact your health care professional.

Bats can bite so gently that it will not always wake you up from sleeping. One way to easily avoid encountering a bat bite is to never handle a bat barehanded. Thick leather gloves work best because the bat’s small teeth and claws will not go through the leather material. The leather will protect you from contracting rabies.

Reduce The Threat

The best way to eliminate the threat of rabies from bats in your home is to have the bat colony from your home removed. If you have found or captured a deceased bat inside your home, you can send it off to be tested for rabies. There are a few different places that will accept and test the bat. The first place to contact about testing bats for rabies is your state’s Department of Health office. Once you contact them, they should have an address that you can bring or even send the bat to.

Some State Universities have veterinarian programs that will accept and test bats for rabies as well. There should be a form that you can print, fill out, and send with the bat. A small fee may also be charged for the testing. Depending on the results of the test, the bat will be handled properly. To eliminate the chance of contracting rabies from bats, the bat colony should be excluded from the home. The only way to get rid of bats safely and properly is by calling professional bat removal experts.

Other Bat Diseases

Rabies is not the only disease dangerous to humans that bats can pass along. The bat feces, guano, is full of fungal spores that when inhaled can cause Histoplasmosis. As stated on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, the fungus Histoplasma is responsible for causing the respiratory disease. Histoplasma is found primarily in bat feces but can also be found in bird feces.

As the bats live in your house, they will defecate and urinate in the attic area. Over time the amount of guano will pile up and fungal spores will form throughout. Those fungal spores, when inhaled, can cause the respiratory disease histoplasmosis. Some common symptoms of histoplasmosis are fever, cough, and fatigue. Histoplasmosis can be treated with antifungal medication prescribed by a doctor. Those with weaker immune symptoms have a higher risk of the disease becoming severe and possibly fatal if left untreated. Bats may be small, but they carry huge risks when they live in a human house. Granted, they do not mean us any harm. Getting rid of bats can be done humanely and be safe for the bats, but only if you call professionals.


Rabies is a deadly disease. Do bats have rabies? Yes, but not all of them do. Don’t be the person who thinks it can’t happen to them. The percentage of bats that carries rabies is low, but it only takes one infected bat to transfer the disease. Having a colony of bats inside your house is only inviting the chance of the disease being present in your house. Bats are wonderful creatures, but they can cause unintentional harm. Sharing your house with bats is never a good option, so make the right choice to protect you and your family before an incident. It is better to be safe than it is to be sorry especially when dealing with bats.

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