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New York State Trappers Association

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Do Bats Carry Rabies?

Bats could potentially carry rabies, just as most mammals do. 90% of human rabies cases in America are caused from contact with bats. Since only about 6% of the bat population is known to carry the disease, there is about one human death per year due to bat rabies.

Although these mammals have very small teeth, bat bites are known to feel like sharp needle jabs. According to the United States Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people typically are aware when getting bit. However, the bites themselves are small punctures, so it’s possible for these bites to go unnoticed. Most of these bat bites occur when people attempt to handle or them up. According to the CDC, it is impossible for someone to get rabies just from seeing a bat in an attic, in a cave, or at a distance. In addition to this, it’s also impossible to contract rabies from coming in contact with bat feces, blood, or urine, or from touching a bat on its fur, (although touching a bat untrained is advised against!)

The most common species of infectious bats are the Silver Haired Bats. These bats are dominantly found throughout the United States, except Florida. It is important to remember that a grounded bat who may appear to be sick may be carrying the disease, so leave the rescuing to the professionals.

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