Texas laws pertaining to bats

State law requires that a district take specific actions after bats are found in a school facility:

  • The bat and colony (if present) must be removed.
  • Repairs must be made so that bats are excluded in the future.
  • The areas where bats roosted must be disinfected.

A bat must be captured (if possible) and submitted to a state-approved laboratory if:

  • It is found in a room with an unattended child, a sleeping person, or an intoxicated or mentally impaired person.
  • There is the possibility that a person has had direct contact with a bat.

Approved labs are those that have been designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The department maintains a listing of rabies laboratories at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/rabies/information/prevention/pamphlet/prevention.pdf.

Protections for bats

Bats are protected by federal and state regulations. It is a federal violation to use chemicals—including insecticides, rodenticides, disinfectants, and mothballs—to kill bats (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/annual/hunt/nongame/).

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, (Chapter 63, Section 63.101; http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PW/htm/PW.63.htm), no one may hunt, sell, offer for sale, buy, offer to buy, or possess after purchase a bat or any part of a bat, dead or alive.

This rule does not apply to animal control officers, peace officers, or health officials who capture a bat that they consider injured or diseased. Also exempted are people who are licensed to provide pest control services and those who transport a bat to a laboratory for testing if the bat has or may have exposed people or domestic animals to rabies.

A bat may be removed or hunted if it is inside or on a building occupied by people. A person may transport a bat to have it tested by a laboratory if rabies is suspected. Also, bats in buildings can be legally removed or evicted.