It’s no Halloween prank — Iowans are being warned to be on the lookout for bats. Pam Weis, a Humane Society spokeswoman, says this is the season where the furry, flying mammals are searching for homes, and they may choose yours.
“This time of year, bats are looking for places that are warm and cozy for them to hold up for the winter so a lot of times people will begin to see more activity in their attics, places that are enclosed,” Weis says. “That’s what bats are looking for, a place to shield them from the weather in the wintertime.” Weis says if you notice a bat in your home, don’t panic, but they can carry rabies, so be careful.
Wies says, “If you go into a room and see a bat into the room and there is a small child or there is an adult that is incapacitated or a frail, elderly adult that may not be able to tell you whether or not they came in contact with the bat, then you need to keep the bat contained and call animal control to get it because they need to hold it for rabies testing.” Wies says if you see a bat in your home, don’t take chances.
“Try to get it somewhere you can shut the door, put a towel under the bottom of the door so it’s stuck in a spare room or whatever, call us and we’ll come and get it and test to make sure it doesn’t have rabies,” Weis says. “If it hasn’t come into contact with anybody and you know it hasn’t come into contact with anybody, then absolutely. If you can safely get it out of your house by shooing it out of your house or by putting on big, huge gardening gloves, you can do that.” Weis says several areas of the state have large bat populations.
“It happens more than not this time of year, in the fall and in the spring, we get so many bat calls when people open a closet and something flies out and you go, ‘Oh, my goodness! What is that?’ and it turns out to be a bat, yes, absolutely, animal control can help you with that.” The most common bat in Iowa is the little brown bat. Weis says bats play an important role in nature and need to be handled properly. She also reminds people who are bitten by a bat to get immediate medical attention.