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August 28, 2007 7:07 PM   Subscribe

There's a bat in our apartment, how do we remove it/

We're not too keen to touch it. We've got the door and window open, how do we expedite its exit without hurting it/us?
posted by furtive to Pets & Animals (26 answers total)
Relax. Assuming it's flying around, turn your lights off and leave the room. Come back in an hour, it'll be gone.

If it's just sitting on the wall, clap a wastebasket over it, slide a magazine or something under it, and put it outside.
posted by beagle at 7:23 PM on August 28, 2007

This method has worked for me twice in the past:

Find a shoebox if you've got one; if you don't, get some other kind of small container that has a top--if you have nothing else, a smallish pot from the kitchen will do.

The key to keep in mind is that the bat is scared and confused, especially because your lights are, presumably, on. It will probably at some point alight on a curtain rod or somesuch and stay there for a short time. During that time, you need to approach it slowly holding the container in one hand and the top in the other. Put the container directly underneath the bat and nudge its feet with the top so it falls into the container, and then put the top on the container quickly so it can't get out.

Then carry the container quickly outside and away from your house, put it on the ground, take off the top and quickly move away from it. The bat will at this point take off for the safety of the nearest tree.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:24 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Those tips sound wise. Not to derail, but you might want to avoid calling any sort of government officials or the SPCA for advice. A couple in Vancouver recently found that their condo was infested with bats and, because it is breeding season, they have been banned from removing the bats. Fortunately (although I'm sure it doesn't seem that way), you only have one. These people had a whole bat cave.
posted by acoutu at 7:34 PM on August 28, 2007

I had this happen once. Waking up in the middle of the night to a bat flying around the bedroom isn't fun. I tried the open windows thing, but after a search eventually found it hiding under a model car on a shelving unit. I plunked a bowl over top, removed the shelf (Ikea unit, just lifted off) and put it outside. Removed the bowl. It didn't move at all for some time. At one point when I checked it was gone. Not sure of it's own will, or an opportunistic predator. I still wonder, but nature did its thing one way or another.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 7:40 PM on August 28, 2007

Be careful -- rats can carry rabies.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:43 PM on August 28, 2007

If the bat is NOT flying around, or wasn't, or seems sick or twitchy or is crawling on the floor call the ASPCA immediately. We had rabid bats at my house when I was a kid and it was a big pain in the ass. The bat catching advice you have gotten is good. Turn off lights, open doors, shoo bat towards them or just leave the house for a few hours and come back and it will probably be gone.
posted by jessamyn at 7:49 PM on August 28, 2007

I once used a lacrosse stick and a bandanna. It worked like a charm. Stunned the bat (lightly, not breaking anything) and it fell on the ground, wrapped it up in the bandanna (didn't touch it, so no rabies). Then I let it fly away outside (it was fine, I swear). Good luck.
posted by nursegracer at 8:11 PM on August 28, 2007

This must be Invasion of the Bats night--I just ejected one from my house. In any event, I did the "turn lights on, open door" thing.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:26 PM on August 28, 2007

Do you have a fishing net? This is how we do it: nab the bat in mid-air with the fishing net and swoop it down to the ground. then slip a garbage bag over the fishing net, bring the whole contraption outside and let the bat go.

If you don't have a fishing net, anything similar like a large pot will work. The downside of this is that if you use a hard surface, you don't want to smash the bat so hard that you injure or kill it.
posted by tomorama at 8:46 PM on August 28, 2007

It is best to put the bat on a ledge so it can get air under its wings instead of taking off from the ground.
posted by hortense at 8:47 PM on August 28, 2007

Here in Illinois, there's been stories on the news of an inordinately large number of rabid bats being found around the Chicago area...

They're recommending you call animal control... not sure where you're located, but you might not want to catch this thing yourself..
posted by twiggy at 8:52 PM on August 28, 2007

Funny you should mention, there was a piece on the local news tonight about a surge of bats in houses - just because they leave doors and windows open in the hot weather (this in in LA!).

They were pretty definite in advising a call to the local animal control dept. Do NOT try to catch it yourself!
posted by DandyRandy at 8:52 PM on August 28, 2007

Oh! This happened to me once. It somehow got in through a skylight, and was flapping around my tiny apartment in a panic. I shut off all the lights, except a lamp that I left on beside a wide open window to "guide" the bat out. All while I cowered in the bathroom for a good hour. When I emerged, the bat was gone.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 9:15 PM on August 28, 2007

I'm wondering why everyone's saying to shut the lights.
Aren't bats supposed to blind?
Just wondering....
posted by elf27 at 9:24 PM on August 28, 2007

My dad fashioned a makeshift bat-net out of a pillowcase and a clotheshanger, and eventually managed to catch the bat and release it into the wilds of Oregon.

My mom stopped, dropped, and crawled into the adjoining bathroom until the all clear was sounded.

This is one of my favorite stories from the early days of their marriage.
posted by crinklebat at 9:45 PM on August 28, 2007

Here is a video on various ways to catch a bat. Thank you for being gentle to our bat neighbors.

elf27, bats are not blind.
posted by lemuria at 9:57 PM on August 28, 2007

Fact: Bats have really small, really sharp teeth and can certainly nip you (a) unnoticeably, and (b) through a garbage bag, piece of thin fabric, etc. Moreover, there is growing evidence for biteless transmission of rabies.

Fact: Rabies is astonishingly widespread among bats. (Statistics were in the Scientific American not long ago, but I don't have it to hand. But I had to re-read them to make sure I wasn't moving a decimal place in my head.)

Fact: If you're unvaccinated, you get exposed, and you find out soon, the only treatment is five shots of vaccine plus at least two of globulin. It takes a month, it's a major pain, and you better believe the vaccine has side effects.

Fact: If you get exposed, you're unvaccinated, and you only find out when the symptoms show up, exactly one person in that situation is known to have avoided the permanent side effect commonly known as death. Attempts to replicate the treatment have failed.

posted by eritain at 12:42 AM on August 29, 2007

So, what happened?
posted by beagle at 4:22 AM on August 29, 2007

Yeah, I'd recommend Animal Control.

Also be aware: when I had to call animal control to retrieve a bat, I had to show him proof that my dogs had been vaccinated for rabies. So, if you have any pets, make sure they are up to date on their shots.
posted by papakwanz at 7:26 AM on August 29, 2007

Wow, eritain! Is it really that serious? I had no idea there was this kind of danger. I would have just grabbed it and tossed it out the window, since I'm generally not bothered by situations like these. Why aren't there more warnings known? I've never heard about (what sounds like a serious risk) this before, and bats are pretty common.

I loved the Dwight Shrute delivery, by the way.
posted by cashman at 7:56 AM on August 29, 2007

I'm assuming the bat is gone by now, but I had a friend who worked with bats a couple years ago and he swore by throwing a towel over them. Its a very simple method of catching the bat and you can release it outside without ever touching it.
posted by bernsno at 8:09 AM on August 29, 2007

I don't want to be an alarmist, but a great deal of people that contract rabies from a bat don't even realize they've been bitten. One theory is that bats groom their nails by sticking them in their mouth to bite on. Then the bat will scratch a person which deposits a small amount of saliva that was left on the nail into a person's skin. If the person is asleep there is very little chance of the person knowing they've been exposed. If the bat seemed sick in any way, go to your doctor.

As eritain said, "Fact: If you get exposed, you're unvaccinated, and you only find out when the symptoms show up, exactly one person in that situation is known to have avoided the permanent side effect commonly known as death. Attempts to replicate the treatment have failed" This is accurate information. And, while I'm sure the person did indeed survive contracting rabies, I am not sure if the person was 100% normal afterwards or if there was any sort of brain damage. I remember after the person survived I was never able to find out if the person survived with 100% of their mental capacity or not.

The moral of the story is always better safe than sorry.
posted by GlowWyrm at 9:58 AM on August 29, 2007

Oh - rabies shots. Which most people have had, including me.

Here's the story that's being referred to - Jeanna Giese.

I think the moral of the story is get your rabies shots on schedule.

I hope furtive has his. If not, I would echo going to the doctor immediately.
posted by cashman at 11:03 AM on August 29, 2007

posted by InnocentBystander at 8:30 PM on August 29, 2007

Well, cashman, now that you've found Jeanna Giese, you know about grabbing it and throwing it out the window—that's precisely what she did. And she does have some residual effects, but seemingly on peripheral nerves only. Which is a lot better than being dead. I fervently hope that medicine soon will replicate her success, but in the meanwhile, rabies remains nothing to screw with.

(I have lived, and had extensive contact with downtrodden people, in a country with a serious TB problem and skyrocketing AIDS rates; I have routinely sat in evening air with no mosquito repellent in a dengue area; I eat bovine brain products with satisfaction; but the most I want to see of a bat is it flying outdoors, at least a couple meters above me, darting and swirling and eating mosquitoes like our good Lord meant it to. Rabies is one of the mighty strongholds of natural awfulness in our century.)
posted by eritain at 2:16 AM on September 1, 2007

Animal control? Get off the pot. A bowl over the bat and then sliding a piece of cardboard under was all it took. Wearing a hat allayed any fears of the winged mammal getting stuck in hair.
posted by furtive at 4:10 PM on September 1, 2007

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