Dead bat in the driveway :(

catherinet(5 IN)November 3, 2005

Hi all,

My son just came home from school and told me that there was a dead bat in the driveway, close to the house. I went out and looked, and it must have gotten run over. Do you think it was sleeping under the car this morning, when I drove off??? It makes me so sad. :(

I didn't know they slept under cars.

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Please tell us you didn't pick it up with bare hands! Bats are wonderful and helpful creatures, but a downed bat is usually one that is diseased. They don't roost under cars. It probably fell there in flight and got run over after it died.
If you did pick it up with bare hands to dispose of it, please retrieve it (with gloved hands) and call the health department in your area to have it tested for rabies. Also, ask your son if he touched it. Make it sound like it's no big deal or he may fib about touching it.
It's too bad it died, but be assured that you didn't kill it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 8:26PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi ccox,
No, I moved it with a shovel.....but I did put it in some ivy next to the house. I'll move it tomorrow. I didn't even think about rabies! I thought it was pretty unusual for it to roost under a car. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 9:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

ccox is 100% right! A downed bat is something to be concerned about. Bats are not the rampant carriers of rabies that they are reputed to be, but a sick or dead one should be avoided carefully. Call the health department and ask them what to do.....especially if you should come across any more dead or sick bats. They have to be buried or removed so that they don't contaminate another innocent mammal (dog, cat, squirrel, chipmunk, fox, etc.).

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 9:52PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

But isn't rabies easily destroyed by stomach acid?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 6:02AM
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deefar(zone 5 NY)

Generally someone/animal would get rabies from being bitten. The rabies will travel through your bloodsteam not entering the stomach. I don't think stomach acids will kill the rabies virus.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 9:05PM
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Ummm, we had a huge colony of bats in our barn attic when I was a kid. Periodically, one or two was down and still alive. When I researched bats, I believe I read that they are gliders and not flyers, so if they do happen to get down, they can't get back up. I guess I'm not sure why they were down in the first place, but I remember this happening quite regularly. In those days, rabies was not quite as rampant as it is now, but I remember my parents being quite careful about it with the bats. Hopefully, your bat isn't diseased.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 10:08PM
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deefar(zone 5 NY)

Bat are flyers. I've never seen a bat glide, for any length of time anyway.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 10:43PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

DH said that the rabies virus doesn't live very long on dead organisms. Is that true? DH is usually wrong about things. ;)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 11:39PM
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I know bats cannot fly from the ground on their own. Maybe I have misused the word glide. I mean glide in the sense that they cannot take off from the ground. They must drop/glide from a higher surface and then begin to flap their wings.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 7:23AM
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Nancy_Ind_is_now_Ill(west central)

Vonyon I'm in agreement with your analogy about their take off. Just like a bird will occasionally hit something while flying, I would assume that even with their sonar, this can happen to a bat also. And young bats would not be as agile in the air as their parents until they learn how to manipulate their wings.
Of course use common sense with any wild creature whose behavior is out of the norm, but a gloved hand giving them a boost to the side of a tree isn't a no-no.
We seldom see a dead bat merely due to where they roost. Their corpses are consumed long before most of us would have an opportunity to see it, but we know they die of old age as well as other things.
Sorry to get so windy but bats are so maligned due to the rabies scare and many are needlessly killed. Using smarts and not force when dealing with wildlife is the key to happy harmony.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 1:37PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Unless the dead bat bit you, I think you'll be OK.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 5:01PM
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Elly, while you are probably correct, I have read stories about people who were not aware that a child had a bat in their bedroom, and they weren't aware that the child had been bitten because the marks can be quite small. In the story that I was reading, the child died. Hypothetically, I suppose you could get saliva on a cut on your hand from handling an infected animal as well. I know that bats are no more suseptible to rabies than other animals, but I think what people are saying is that the uncharacteristic behavior of having a bat on the ground might be reason to be cautious. I'm guessing you would agree that it is probably wise to avoid touching the dead body of any animal that had been acting uncharacteristically. Better safe than sorry with a 100% fatal illness. (Speaking of that, I was reading somewhere in the last six months of the first case of someone surviving rabies, but I can't remember the details.)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 6:32PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Some bats certainly can take off from the ground - vampire bats do most of their feeding from the ground (they tend to cut their prey on the toe or ankle, etc. and then follow it around, licking the blood that wells up and trying not to get stomped), and pallid and New Zealand short-tailed bats catch most of their insect prey by chasing it on the ground. I even found a report (by Merlin Tuttle, so you know you can trust it) of a bat taking off after landing on the surface of a pond!

Our common backyard bats would probably look very funny trying to get airborn from the ground, but presumably they can do it with difficulty. At the very least, a healthy bat should be able to get to a vertical surface and climb it to take off.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 6:44AM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Yes, I know about the teeth and in many states, if a live bat is found to have been in a room overnight, the state requires it to be tested.

The working word here is "live." What I was trying to get at (apparently unsuccessfully : ) is that dead bats don't bite.

A number of years ago (about 6), a man in NJ started showing signs of rabies. Turned out, he had removed bats from where they were rooseting around his house, and he was bitten. Their teeth are so small that he didn't even know he was bitten, and he was evidently dumb enough to have handled them without gloves. So he died of rabies.

But as it has been repeated in this thread, although bats are rabies vectors (as any mammal may be), they are not the most common vector. I believe raccoons and skunks are the major vectors in NJ.

I worry that people's ignorance, combined with ignorant fears of bats in general, may fuel more ignorance and unfounded fears of this amazing and important creature.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 1:08PM
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Catherine - it is possible that the bat was hit while driving and didn't fall off the grill until the car was stopped (like a large insect) Bats are hit all the time when they are chasing insects, think about how many bugs we hit with our cars. They also run into windows and walls more than we might think.

Perhaps the best way to think of it is that NO wild animal should ever be touched with bare hands (or bothered at all most of the time :). All animals carry diseases of some sort or another and better safe than sorry. Most North American bats have difficulty taking off from the ground. Having four in the house right now, I see it each night (it's pretty funny to watch actually) They usually find something to climb up for a better launch. This is the reason they like their houses to be high up with no obstructions below the entrance. It is possible to not be aware that one had been bitten by a bat (esp if asleep), but I can tell you first hand that most of time it hurts! I know from working with people and bats that often people just don't want to admit to doing something foolish. I'd rather look stupid than be dead!

I hope all this rambling made some sense :) here is a picture of kingbat. He's too old to release so we're his "retirement home".


    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:15AM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

How lucky you are to work with bats, CM! Kingbat is a cutie.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:57AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:16PM
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In Toronto, we had a lot of dead bats this past summer.
Mostly in the hands of Blue Jays.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 5:15PM
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Detailed info here.

Here is a link that might be useful: CDC - Bats and Rabies

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 12:59PM
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very sad. i love bats.

here is a site i enjoy in case anyone is interested in learning more about bats:

ps. i would link to a specific page but it always seems to default to the home page.

Here is a link that might be useful: bat conservation international

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 10:36PM
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I have one that seem to be dead on my screened door.
I am afraid it got its "hooks" caught on the screen net and died from cold.
It's thawing now and some flies and ladybugs get out of the space that's between the roof and the standing seem...
anyway, what should I do? throw it away, calling some environment agency (I heard about the white nose disease - but its nose is ok- maybe it arrived in VT? that would be very sad). I am aware of rabies, and will be careful not to touch it. It certainly does not seem alive though. I moved the screen and no reaction.
respect bats, without them we'd be invaded by bugs and many fruits would not exist.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 12:17AM
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