Bats in my Home

Do not panic if a bat enters your home. Do not knock the bat out of the air, and do not attempt to handle or catch the bat. A bat will make sharp turns while flying in an enclosed area and may appear to swoop down at you. The bat is not trying to attack you; it is simply trying to get its bearings so that it can find its way back outside.

If the bat has not bitten anyone, here are the steps to take:

  • Confine the bat to a room with outdoor access. Close other interior doors to keep the bat confined to one room.
  • Once the bat is confined to one room, open a window (make sure the screen is removed) or door to the outside, and leave the room.
  • Allow the bat time to escape (this may take a few hours if the bat is disoriented).
  • Keep people and pets out of the room until you are sure the bat is gone.

Bats can have rabies. If the bat bites a human or a pet, do not allow the bat to escape; keep the bat enclosed in the room. Call the local Department of Animal Control to have an officer capture the bat.

A bat that has bitten a human or pet will need to be tested for rabies. If a bat has been near sleeping people, especially children, it should be tested for rabies. Bat bites are small, and someone may not realize that he or she has been bitten. It is better to err on the side of caution and have the bat tested.

Testing is done on the dead bat’s brain, so it is important not to damage the carcass, especially the head, before testing. If the bat tests positive for rabies, medical attention is needed. A person who has been bitten will need their doctor to administer the rabies vaccine.

Bat Colony in Building

If you see bats coming and going from the building, there may be a bat colony inside. During the spring and early summer, some species of bat will set up maternity colonies in buildings to raise their pups. During the winter, bats will hibernate together in groups within buildings if natural shelter is unavailable.

If at all possible, let the bat colony remain for the season. If the colony cannot be tolerated, CONTACT an Illinois Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist on how to deal with the colony.

Bat hanging on a blue curtain.