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Because bats can carry rabies – a fatal disease - the Douglas County Health Department and the Nebraska Humane Society are asking residents to protect themselves from these evening invaders. The first step is educating the public to avoid exposure. The next is to make certain proper treatment follows if someone is bitten.The biggest fear is that an individual will be bitten while asleep and not realize they are infected. That is because bat bites may not leave an obvious mark.

The Douglas County Health Department defines an exposure to a potentially rabid bat as:

  • A person has been bitten
  • There’s a potential that the bat’s saliva has infected a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or an open wound
  • One awakens and finds a bat in their room
  • A bat is found in the room of a child
  • A bat is found in the room of a mentally challenged or intoxicated person

The best option is to keep bats out of your home, however you can “bat-proof” a home by closing any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch. To do this, you can caulk the opening or use window screens, chimney caps or stainless steel wool. Outside entry points are especially important to cover. Doors to the outside should be kept tightly closed.

If you find a bat in your home, call The Nebraska Humane Society at 402-444-7800, Extension 1.

A laboratory test is needed to confirm if a bat has rabies. If you are bitten by a bat or exposed to bat saliva, call the Nebraska Humane Society and your doctor.

If you have questions about bats, please call the Douglas County Health Department at 402-444-7489 or The Nebraska Humane Society at 402-444-7800, ext. 1. For more information on bats and how to protect yourself from their bites, just go to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Web site at www.cdc.gov and enter bats in the search box.

If a bat accidentally flies into your house, don’t panic and follow these tips:

  • Do not try to handle the bat. Like all wild animals, bats will bite if they feel threatened
  • Help the bat get back outside where it wants to be by closing the door to the room and opening windows
  • If the bat is not flying, or the room does not have direct access to outside, capture the bat using a box or small container. Be sure to wear thick work gloves
  • After capturing a bat, open the container on its side, in the air or against a tree to allow the bat to fly away

If a bat bit someone in the home, the bat will need to be tested for rabies. Capture the bat using a box or small container and contact the Douglas County Health Department right away at 402-444-7214.

If you are not able to do a bat exclusion on your own, professional help is available (Douglas County Health Department does not provide this service). Be sure to ask your local provider to follow humane methods for removal including:

  • Install a bat house nearby prior to the exclusion
  • Do not perform an exclusion between May and August
  • Create a one-way door allowing bats to exit rather than applying chemicals or pesticides inside the home

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Douglas County Video Tour