The 7 Easy Steps to Get a Bat Out of Your House

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It can be inconvenient or even scary to find perched in your home. Fortunately, there are several ways to get a bat out of your house safely and humanely.

Read the seven-step guide below on how to get a bat out of the house.

1. Remain calm

While it may be easier said than done, try your best to remain calm when you notice a bat in your living space. Your first instinct may be to run out of the room to avoid contact, but this can create a more dangerous situation. If you leave the room, you’ll lose sight of the bat, which means you won’t know for sure if the bat is still in your home. This increases the risk of bites occurring, especially when the bat is accidentally grabbed or startled. 

While it may be easier said than done, try your best to remain calm when you notice a bat in your living space. Your first instinct may be to run out of the room to avoid contact, but this can create a more dangerous situation. If you leave the room, you’ll lose sight of the bat, which means you won’t know for sure if the bat is still in your home. This increases the risk of bites occurring, especially when the bat is accidentally grabbed or startled. 

You might also be tempted to grab a nearby object and start swatting at the bat. While a flying bat may remind you of a furious bird or huge insect, keep in mind that this nocturnal creature won’t attack you unless provoked. A bat is way more scared of you than you are of it, so remain calm and get to figuring out how to help it find its way back outside.

2. Determine if the bat bit anyone

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Determine if the bat bit anyone or any pet in your home. Bats can have rabies, but it’s almost impossible for that to impact humans. The chance of the bite of an infected bat to cause rabies in humans is very small – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are one or two cases a year in the United States. That being said, bats are the most common source of human rabies in the United States.

3. Clear the room

Remove any pets or children from the room – they will not help you remove the bat and may even cause distractions or inadvertently harm the bat or get hurt themselves. Be sure to get everyone out of the bat’s vicinity and deal with it alone, or get another adult to help out if necessary. 

4. Close off the space

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Close all the interior doors that could lead the bat further into your home. Ideally, you want to enclose the bat in a space with windows so you can allow it to access an easy escape route once it’s been successfully isolated. If you lose sight of the bat, it might help to look for it in high places such as the top of a bookshelf, a hanging light fixture, or a curtain rod. 

5. Create an exit to the outside

After closing off the bat-occupied room, open any available windows or doors that lead to the outside. Be sure to pull away any screens, furniture, or curtains blocking these exits so the bat can escape the house easily. Stand in the corner of the room to watch the bat without getting in its way. Avoid standing in the middle of the room, as this will force the bat to fly around you.

It might also help dim the lights in your house and turn off the exterior lights outside the window or door you expect the bat to exit through. Bats find their way around using echolocation instead of sight, so bright lights (as well as the vast array of sounds in your house) can make it difficult for the bat to navigate and find its way outside. In addition to dimming interior lights and turning off exterior ones, you might also want to turn off any radio, TV, or air conditioner near the exit. Try to be as quiet as possible to avoid disturbing the bat. 

Generally, a dark, calm environment with easily accessible exit points (wide-open windows or doors) will encourage a bat to leave the house voluntarily, which can save you the hassle of having to deal with the catch-and-release strategies discussed below. Keep in mind that it might take up to 20 minutes for the bat to leave on its own, so try your best to be patient and always keep an eye on it. 

6. You may need to catch the bat

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While many bats will find an escape route on their own, some bats aren’t as lucky. As a bat flaps about and becomes fatigued, it will often perch on a curtain, wall, light fixture, or another high point in the room. If the bat lands and seems unlikely to find an exit on its own, the best course of action is to catch it humanely and move it outside your house. Have someone keep an eye on the bat as you gather the following supplies:

  • A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and protective shoes

Before you get started, put on a thick long-sleeved shirt/sweatshirt, long pants, and a sturdy pair of shoes or boots. Bats can bite, so it’s essential to protect any exposed areas of your skin when trying to catch one to prevent this. Avoid thin fabrics like cotton, which a bat can easily bite through.

  • Gardening gloves or other thick hand coverings

Your hands are the most likely to be exposed to the bat, so be sure to put on thick work gloves, leather gloves, or any other thick hand coverings made of sturdy material.

Depending on the method you opt to use to catch the bat, you might also need:

  • A broom
  • A box or plastic container
  • A piece of cardboard or stiff paper
  • A blanket or net

Some of the strategies you can use to catch the bat include:

A. Using a broom

You can begin by offering the bat a perch to hang on by resting the handle of your broom against wherever it’s resting. Often, the bat will instinctively cling to the broom handle and allow you to navigate it outdoors safely. In this case, carefully carry the broom outside, set it down, and wait for the bat to crawl away. Alternatively, you can stick the broom handle with the bat on it out of a previously opened window.

B. Using a small bucket or box

If the trick mentioned above doesn’t work, try trapping a stationary bat using a cardboard/plastic box or a small bucket/container. Follow the steps below to apply this method:

  • Carefully and silently place a container/box/bucket over the bat. This will prevent it from flying away while you attempt to remove it. Make sure the container you opt to use is big enough to comfortably accommodate the bat so you don’t accidentally injure it. 
  • Slide a piece of cardboard over the container to completely cover the opening. Be sure to keep the container as close to the wall or surface as possible to keep the bat trapped. 
  • Swiftly and carefully take the container outside to a nearby tree. Tilt it against the tree trunk, and then hold the container at arm’s-length. Slowly remove the cardboard and release the bat.
  • While it’s possible to release the bat on the ground and have it crawl away, these mammals typically can’t take flight from the ground – releasing them onto a tree will help them escape easier. This is especially important for a bat that is fatigued and stressed from flying around your house.

C. Using a blanket/cloth/net

Another alternative you can try involves using a blanket/cloth/net following the steps below:

  • Grab a blanket/cloth/net and slowly approach the bat
  • Carefully drape the blanket/net/cloth over the bat as quickly as possible to prevent it from flying away.
  • If you opt to use a net, be sure to use one with tiny holes, like a butterfly net. Once you successfully place it over the bat, close the top of the net, taking care not to crush the fragile bat.
  • If you opt to use a cloth or blanket, place it over the sedentary bat, then gently bundle it up.
  • Carry the bat out while it’s still in the net/cloth/blanket, then release it outdoors.

D. Scoop up the bat in your hands

Another option you might want to try involves catching the bat with your hands. Keep in mind that this last method gets you the closest to the bat and is, therefore, potentially the most dangerous depending on the thickness of your gloves. Here are some guidelines on how to go about this method:

  • Approach the bat slowly and quietly, then swiftly reach down and pick it up in both of your hands. You want to keep a firm but gentle hold on it. 
  • The bat will likely start squirming around trying to bite you in self-defense, so try holding it so that its head is facing out, near the tips of your fingers, so you can keep an adequate amount of pressure on its body.

No matter which method you opt to use, always wait until a bat is stationary before attempting to remove it- trying to grab one mid-flight will likely injure it and may lead to a retaliatory bite.

7. Call in the experts

You don’t have to deal with the bat yourself – you can always call in the professionals if you have tried the strategies above without success, or you don’t feel confident approaching the bat on your own. This is also the best option if the flying mammal appears injured or can’t otherwise be caught safely. 

It might be a good idea to call your local wildlife rehabilitators or animal control department, but depending on your location and the time of your emergency, they may not be able to arrive quickly to assist you. In that case, a 24-hour pest control service may be the better option – be sure to do a bit of research beforehand to make sure they’re qualified to handle bats.

If anyone (including pets) gets bitten by the bat during the rescue operation, do not release it outside. Ensure the bite victim gets immediate medical attention, then have the bat tested for rabies before releasing it to the wild. You can arrange this by contacting your local health department or veterinarian. While you wait, keep the bat secure inside a large container.

Preventing bats from getting into your house

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Once you successfully free a bat from your home, the next step is to ensure that it doesn’t return. There are several techniques you can use to keep bats from reentering your house:

A. Seal all possible entrances

A bat can use several entry points to get into your home. They include:

  • Open windows and framing

Whether you like to enjoy a fresh breeze in your home at night or want to cool down a room during hot summer evenings, bats are likely to take open windows as an invitation. If the window leads into a storage area, you might miss the bat’s presence for even longer.

  • Cracks and gaps

Bats can easily infiltrate your home through cracks, crevices, and gaps in the ceiling or external walls of your home. To prevent bats from getting in this way, insulate any gaps and cracks in the ceiling and/or walls internally. 

  • Chimneys

Bats are always looking for accessible, warm areas for their new homes. Chimneys provide easy access into your home for bats, and they can often find food like insects and spiders within them. Keep bats from accessing your home through the chimney by installing chimney caps.

  • Vents 

Vents are another common entry point for bats – they are more spacious than cracks and gaps, and they often have an abundance of edible insects, as well as warmth and protection. Installing vent covers will prevent bats from getting into your house this way.

  • Attics, barns, and sheds

Bats gravitate towards these areas because they tend to be isolated, quiet, warm, and often populated with insects and spiders that they can feed on. Regular maintenance of these areas can help mitigate a bat problem.

B. Install exclusion devices

Another option you can try involves installing exclusion devices such as:

  • Tubes

Consider installing PVC and caulk tubes to keep bats from reentering your home. These tubes work by facilitating the bat’s exit while preventing it from crawling back into your house through the same gap. You can find them in your local hardware or home improvement store.

  • Nets

Nets can also prevent the reentry of bats if you position them low enough on a potential entry point.

Final thoughts

It’s possible to get a bat out of your house on your own, but it’s important to stay calm and collected and make sure you have the proper protective gear. To prevent further incidents of bats in your home, seal off potential entry points and install exclusion devices. 

Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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