Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 by Bill Cowley
The poor, misunderstood bat. There’s no denying that bats have a bad rap. They are feared and hated for no reason other than bats are, well, bats. Most of these fears are based on misunderstandings and the way that they are depicted on TV and in the movies. That whole blood-sucking vampire image is totally inaccurate. If bats could sue for slander, they’d probably win. In fact, bats play an important role in our ecosystem. Bats are veracious bug eaters, especially mosquitoes, making them welcome guests in our back yards. People who know the real deal about bats keep bat boxes in their yards to encourage them to hang out. These airborne bug-sucking vacuum cleaners roam your backyard, removing mosquitoes and other bugs that plague us in the summer.
There are close to 1000 species of bats in the world, and approximately 40 species are found in the United States. In New Jersey, there are only two types of bats that we are likely to come in contact with, the Big Brown Bat and the Little Brown Bat. Sorry Dracula fans, these bats eat only insects. There are only a few species of vampire bats in the world. None are in the United States, let alone Cranbury, NJ (or any other part of New Jersey). And vampire bats bite only chickens and cattle. They have no interest in human blood.
If bats are so great, why don’t we want them in our house? While having a bat or two in your back yard on mosquito patrol can be a big help, the problem comes when bats begin to roost inside your home. There, bats can cause serious trouble. The two major reasons are from their front end (their bites) and their back end (their droppings).
Bats can bite, and a small percentage of bats are infected with rabies. Bats are one of four species of animals in New Jersey classified as rabies vector species: the others are raccoons, foxes, and skunks. And you can’t tell they are rabid from their appearance. Many infected bats do not show symptoms. Rabies can be transmitted to a person who comes in contact with the saliva or body tissue of an infected animal. You are unlikely to come in direct contact with a bat in an open area like your back yard. But with a wild animal that feels trapped and threatened in a confined area like a room in your home, there is a much greater chance of getting bitten. Fortunately, bites are rare. But if you are bitten or even think you have been bitten, don’t take any chances. Get medical treatment immediately.
Also, bat feces, also known as guano, can be very dangerous. Bat droppings inside your house can create a serious threat to the people living in your home. Guanocan harbor toxic fungi. If these airborne feces particles are inhaled, they can cause histoplasmosis, a serious lung disease. Even the simple act of cleaning up after a bat in your home can make you sick. Bat guano is a hazardous material and should only be removed by trained technicians using personal protective equipment. A Cowleys wildlife technician will safely and humanely remove the bats, make your home bat-proof, and professionally clean your home so everyone can breathe safely.
If you have any reason to believe that bats have invaded and taken up residence in any part of your home, such as this customer in Wall, NJ give us a call at our Little Rascals Wildlife Division. You name the New Jersey nuisance wildlife that’s found its way inside a home and we’ve removed it (well, we have not yet gotten a call to remove a brown bear, but we’re ready!). We’ve successfully handled hundreds of bat infestations. So give us a call. After we remove the bats safely and humanely, we’ll close up all the entry points so the bats don’t come back. Trust us, the bats will be much happier finding a nice quiet roosting home away from pesky people!