BARC ANIMAL SHELTER AND ADOPTIONS
Spring and Fall are the migratory seasons for bats, which means an increase in the Houston bat population and a sharp upswing in bat sightings and potential contact or exposure with people and animals. Bats provide many benefits to the environment, especially in controlling the insect population. Bats are also considered a high risk species in this region for carrying the rabies virus; therefore Animal Control lists bat complaints as one of the highest priorities for our officers. The following procedures outline BARC’s response and recommendations for bat issues.
Individual bats found or sighted in homes
If single or small numbers of bats are seen in living areas of homes, such as bedrooms or kitchens, contact BARC through the 311 system. Individuals that are bitten or scratched by a bat, or find a bat in a room with a child, mentally incompetent person, or where a person was intoxicated or sleeping, should also consult their doctor about possible exposure risks and post exposure treatment. Contact BARC at 311 to report the incident.
Infestations in homes or buildings
Bat infestations are not unusual, and, like other pest control issues are the responsibility of the home or property owner. BARC and other City of Houston agencies do not offer removal services for pest control problems. Persons living in apartment buildings should contact their property owner/manager. BARC recommends that the property owner contact a wildlife or pest removal service experienced in bat exclusion.
Pets and bats
Pet owners should contact BARC if their animal comes in contact with a live or dead bat, indoors or out. BARC should also be contacted if an animal was present when a bat has been found or seen inside a home. An Animal Control Officer will be dispatched to collect the bat for testing, if possible.
Bats are both native to the Houston area and also migrate here from Mexico and other areas. It is common to see bats outside at night, and residents should not be alarmed. Bats that live in trees, or under bridges and outside of houses, apartments or other outdoor structures should be left alone.
Bats seen moving on the ground during the day should be reported to BARC. Dead bats may be disposed of if there has been no contact with pets or persons, or any exposure to a child, mentally incompetent person, or where a person was intoxicated or sleeping, as explained previously.
Direct handling of bats, alive or dead, should be avoided. Call BARC for information or advice, and dispose of dead bats in containers using heavy gloves and tools such as pliers.
Contact BARC at 311