Habitat and Protection
There are several types of bats that live in Sioux Falls but the most common are little brown and big brown bats. Bats are very beneficial in the environment because they eat insects; one bat can eat up to 500 insects in an hour! You may see bats at night flying through the neighborhood, patrolling for insect swarms near streetlamps or the lights outside of your own home. Most bats only have one or two pups a year and the pups are born in May or June. Bats prefer to live in the wild where there is less human disturbance. Occasionally a bat will be found in a home. It either is a bat that has lost its way or it is a bat that enjoys the comforts of your warm home.
Bats are warm-blooded animals that are a danger to you and your pets because they may carry rabies. Nationwide, approximately 3% of bats that are tested are sick with rabies. Many people justify having an unvaccinated pet if it never leaves the house, but this is a great example of why vaccinations are necessary. Make sure that your pets are vaccinated against rabies to protect them in case a bat gets into your home. If you find a bat in your home and believe it has had contact with a person or pet, keep it contained in one room or in a container and then call Animal Control at 367-7000. We will attempt to capture the bat and do any testing that is necessary.
- Keep them out. The best way to keep bats out of your homes is to keep windows and doors closed in the evening and to make sure there are no holes into your attic. These areas are typically at points where joined materials have either warped, shrunk, or pulled away from each other. Louvered vents, chimneys, and loose flashing are also likely spots. If you have reoccurring problems with bats in your home, you should inspect your home for entrances and permanently seal those passageways. To ensure the bat is out of your home when you do this, watch at sunset for the bat to leave. Then do your repairs.
- Don’t touch them. Use gloves if you want to try and remove the bat on your own. If you find a bat that is on the ground and that cannot fly, it may have rabies but it may also be a young bat that is just learning to fly, or a mother bat that is trying to carry her young and gets too heavy to fly. Tell your children to never handle a bat, and keep your pets away from bats also.
- Bats will not attack, but they may bite in self-defense. If you or your pet is bitten by a bat, clean the area of the bite with soap and water, call Animal Control and see a physician.
- Animal Control only works in the main living areas of your home. If you have bats in your attic, you will need to call a pest control company.