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These pups can fly, so steer clear

Rabid bat in Utah County
Posted at 2:15 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 16:15:51-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Bats are right up there with snakes and spiders as animals to avoid, but there are more of them flying around in summer months, when baby bats (called pups) are learning to fly.

So what's the best way to steer clear of them?

Bats rely on standing water for both drinking and as a source of insects, and female bats have increased water needs when they are producing milk for their young.

"This time frame is the hardest time of year for dealing with bat nuisance issues," says Department of Wildlife Resources Mammal Conservation Coordinator Kimberly Hersey.

"Since the young can't fly yet and are reliant on their mother's milk, preventing the mothers from returning to their roosting spot will kill the babies. Because bats are a protected wildlife species, it's illegal to kill them.

"I've also seen where poorly timed removals can lead to bats in attics suddenly finding their way inside someone's home because the mothers are trying to reach their young. So, unless there is a human health and safety issue . . . we do not permit bat colony removal during this time of year."

But there are humane and safe ways to remove them from a home.

If there is a colony of bats in the bellfry, contact a local, permitted wildlife nuisance control company for help. The DWR will coordinate with that company to authorize the removal at specific times of the year that won't harm the pups.

Yes, bats can be rabies carriers, so never handle them with bare hands.

If a bat is inside the living area of a home, open a door or window, turn off the lights inside the house and turn on a porch light outside. Leave the room and allow the bat to leave on its own.

If the bat does not make its way outside on its own, here are tips for removing them:

  • Wearing heavy leather gloves, place a small box or can over the bat.
  • To create a lid, slide a piece of cardboard between the can and the wall or curtain, enclosing the bat inside the container.
  • Then, take the bat outside and release it on a tree or other high object.

If bats are regularly using a porch, try hanging streamers, balloons or other objects (like old CDs) that will move with a breeze. This seems to discourage bats from hanging out, says the DWR.

For more tips and safety information regarding bats, visit the Wild Aware Utah website.