What to do if you come in contact with a bat in Massachusetts | Bat

What to do if you come in contact with a bat

If you come in direct contact with a bat or are bitten by a bat, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and get medical advice immediately. Never touch a bat without gloves.

A bat bite can be very small, and may not be detected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that bats found in living spaces be captured and tested for rabies when:

  • Found in a room where someone was sleeping

  • Found in a room with or near young children, mentally impaired or intoxicated persons

  • A bat has had contact with or found near a pet

Additionally, direct contact includes handling a bat without gloves. If you have any questions on what counts as contact, call your local health department.

If there is a possibility a bat has come in direct contact with someone, the situation needs to be handled as a potential rabies exposure. Though rabies is rare, it is dangerous, and almost always fatal if not treated. Contact a nuisance wildlife control professional and/or your local animal control office to safely capture, preserve and transport the bat. It is only possible to test for rabies by testing the bat’s brain. That means the bat’s brain must be intact for testing, so do not try to hit it or strike it down. Contact your state or local health department for assistance in submitting for rabies testing.

Follow medical professional advice on the need for emergency rabies treatment or contact your veterinarian for treating pets. Keep vaccinations current for cats, dogs, and other animals.



Laws and regulations to be aware of

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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