If a bat is found inside a school building, school personnel should remove all students and staff from the area. They also should contact the school’s trained responders, who are authorized, to handle bats or the animal control service.
Note: Most animal control officers respond to bat incidents for the purpose of submitting the animal to a rabies laboratory. They should not be considered part of your school’s bat removal or exclusion team.
To remove a bat, the trained responder should:
- Gather these items before approaching the bat: a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, a pair of thick work gloves, a plastic face shield, a small container such as a cardboard box or coffee can, a sturdy piece of cardboard, and masking or duct tape. A net also may be used.
- Cover the arms and put on the gloves and face shield.
- Carefully place the box or can over the bat.
- Slip the cardboard under the box, trapping the bat in the box.
- Secure the box and tape it shut. A video on how to capture a bat is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzax0V0DG_M.
- Immediately notify the designated person that the bat has been secured.
- If the bat came into contact with anyone, report the incident to animal control or the local health authority and request that the bat be tested for rabies. If animal control services are unavailable in the area, a local veterinarian can, for a fee, submit the bat for testing.
- If you believe that the bat did not come into contact with anyone, consider the possibilities for human contact in the hours and days before the bat was found. If exposures could have occurred, have the bat tested.
- If you are certain that the bat did not come into contact with anyone, take it outside, carefully remove all tape, and release the bat. Because bats cannot take flight from the ground, hold the container aloft, lift the lid, and gently tilt the container to the side. The bat should fly out and away. Alternatively, hold the container against a high wall or the branch of a tree and slowly remove the cardboard. After a few moments, the bat should cling to the outside surface and can be left there.
- After the bat has been removed, disinfect the surfaces that came into contact with it.
- Log and track the incident.
- Institute a 4-week “watch period” at the campus. During this period, the IPM coordinator or another designated person should inspect the interior and exterior of the facility for any signs of bats. The maintenance department should be notified if any bats are found.
If a bat is found outside a school building:
- Follow the procedures listed above for removing a bat from inside a building.
- The principal should notify the staff and students about the situation and remind them never to touch a bat while on or off school grounds.