Bats in the daytime
August 1, 2011 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I released a bat outside this morning. Will he be OK until nightfall?

This morning I finally caught the little brown bat who's been resident in our bedroom for the last two days (tried the open window thing first, but nope - he was having no part of it). He seemed OK (a little grumpy about being scooped into tupperware) so I gently put him out the window and he flew away. But then I had a sudden thought - he's nocturnal. Should I have waited until nightfall? Will he find a refuge quickly?

Obligatory photo of cute little toesie wosies here.
posted by media_itoku to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bats don't die in the sunlight, they are not vampires. I am sure he will be fine.
posted by TheBones at 1:32 PM on August 1, 2011 [15 favorites]

A little too much Twilight in your thoughts, OP. He's a bat, not the Count.
posted by Kruger5 at 1:37 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is a higher risk for predators, ideally they should be released at night. Live and learn.

In the future this is a decent guide to follow.
posted by edgeways at 1:38 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I was more worried about the heat/dehydration, or maybe that he would be disoriented. Pretty sure I didn't see him sparkle or spontaneously start counting stuff, although that would have cool :-)
posted by media_itoku at 1:39 PM on August 1, 2011 [7 favorites]

would have *been* cool. D'oh.
posted by media_itoku at 1:40 PM on August 1, 2011

Please carefully examine yourself and your loved ones for any scratches, bug bites, or punctures; sometimes people are bitten by bats and don't realize it. According to this guide, a bat should be sent for rabies testing if anyone was asleep at any time while the bat was in the house.
posted by bq at 1:40 PM on August 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

Please go to the doctor - or even the ER - for rabies prophylaxis. There have been several documented cases of people being bitten by rabid bats while they slept and not realizing until too late. Rabies is fatal. You had two nights of exposure. Everyone who could have come into contact with the bat should have rabies prophylaxis, including pets (pets should receive a booster shot and be monitored.)
posted by Frowner at 1:47 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

In fact, consult your doctor at once He or she may recommend a series of shots for rabies, just to be sure. It's a pain -- although not the horrific pain of the tales we heard as children. But rabies is almost always fatal, and cannot be cured after symptoms appear.

I had friends who had a bat in their house, and went through the treatment. They didn't enjoy it (mostly because it's a series of shots, and who likes that?), but it sure beats the heck out of dying. Especially that way.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:47 PM on August 1, 2011

Just to be clear - I did not sleep in the room. Closed it off, opened the window, and decamped to another bedroom for two nights.
posted by media_itoku at 1:52 PM on August 1, 2011

Oh, phew! You will be fine and I'm sure the bat will be, as well.
posted by cyndigo at 1:53 PM on August 1, 2011

By the way, even if there are no signs of a bite, a family member might have been exposed. A 9-year-old boy in Quebec died of rabies in 2000 after being exposed to a bat, even though there was no indication of a bite. It took him all of three weeks to die.

I don't mean to sound alarmist. Just to stress the potential seriousness. Almost all of the fatalities from rabies that I have heard about come from bat bites -- there was a man in Monticello, MN, who died in 2007, and likewise had no signs of a bat bite.

The more I read of this, the more it seems like rabies prophylaxis is always prescribed when somebody encounters a bat in this way.

But consult your doctor. They'll be able to tell you if it's advisable.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:54 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

My son was in a summer camp bunk that had a bat overnight and he (and his bunkies) ended up getting 3 shots. Worth at least discussing with a professional.

Cute bat
posted by AugustWest at 2:07 PM on August 1, 2011

Of course, talk to your doctor, but don't freak out over the possibility of rabies:

"Since 1960 there have only been 40 reported cases of humans getting rabies from bats."

"Only 48 confirmed cases of rabies from bats have occurred in the United States in the past 55 years, the group reports. "

(Both are 2006 statistics, strangely) -- compare to "Since 1997, ISAF has recorded six shark attacks in the Caribbean, compared to 96 in North America ..." (undated)

It does and can happen, but is is a rare and infrequent occurance, so talk to your doctor, but stay calm about it, the odds of rabies are unlikely considering how many people have bats in their attics.
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:09 PM on August 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Update: spoke to my doctor, who was not concerned given that I did not touch the bat or sleep in the room. Have not seen Mr. Bat again but his buddies are doing their evening insectivore-a-thon.
posted by media_itoku at 5:02 PM on August 1, 2011

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