Winter is approaching and many mammals are getting ready to hibernate. Bats are one of these mammals and homeowners may find them in their homes, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln program coordinator said. When dealing with bats in homes, homeowners should focus on prevention, said UNL's Stephen Vantassel of the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.
"Make sure that your house remains tight," Vantassel said. "Any gap three-eighths of an inch or larger needs to be sealed."
Vantassel said that unlike other animals, bats cannot chew through walls. That means that homeowners should ensure that bats aren't already inside when sealing small holes.
"If homeowners are premature and seal up the house too quickly, they force the bats into the living space," Vantassel said. "When in doubt, install a one-way door."
A one-way door will let a bat out but not in.
There are ways to tell that a bat has been getting in your home through a small gap, Vantassel said.
There may be bat feces around the opening, as well as subtle smudge marks accompanied by an odor.
A homeowner may have bats in the home and not see them in the living space, Vantassel said.
Vantassel said that the bat should be captured and released outside, provided that owners are positive that there was no bat-human contact.
Vantassel said that if a person wakes up in a room with a bat, they should assume that they were bitten and have the bat tested for rabies.
"We err on the side of caution, even though the vast majority of bats don't have rabies," Vantassel said. "This is a lottery you don't want to win."