A wound inflicted by a bat can go unnoticed but should be taken seriously due to the small risk of contracting rabies. Anyone who has touched or been touched by a bat should:
Immediately wash the exposed skin with soap and water for 15 minutes
Contact the health line associated with your province, or a doctor to evaluate whether or not you should receive the rabies vaccination:
Quebec: Info-Santé - 8-1-1
Ontario: TeleHealth - 1-866-797-0000
Manitoba: Health Links - 1-888-315-9257
If possible, safely capture the bat (see steps below). The health care professional will be able to guide you where you need to take the bat to have it analyzed
If your pet has come into contact with a bat, you should contact your veterinarian.
How to capture a bat
Wear thick gloves whenever you are trying to capture a bat
Capture the bat under a solid container (e.g. yogurt container), then, slide a lid onto the container by lifting the container slightly off the surface.
Make sure air can get into the container, then place it in a box in an area where it is dark and quiet.
Disinfect your gloves
Wash your hand with warm water and soap
Depending on the circumstances, follow the instructions below regarding who you should contact.
If there is a bat in your house and you have not come into contact with it
Restrict the bat to a single room by closing the door(s) to the room that it is in
Open the windows, remove the screens, and turn off the lights
Leave the room, closing the door behind you. In most cases, the bat will leave out the window on its own. If it does not leave, wait for it to settle down
If the bat does not leave, wait for it to settle down, and then capture it using the protocol described above. After capturing the bat, it should be in a container inside a box.
If no people or pets have come into contact with the bat, you can release it outside. Open the container and put the box on its side at base of a tree. The bat will be able to climb up the tree and fly away.
Check on the bat approximately 24 hours later. It is important that you wait at least 24 hours to check on the bat because, bats are able to drop their body temperatures into a state called torpor where the bat may appear dead. In order to not confuse a torpid bat from a dead bat, allow the bat at least 24 hours to leave the box.
If the bat has died, contact the appropriate agency where you should report dead bats (see below).
If you find an active bat during the winter, it is because it has woken up from hibernation. It requires a lot of energy for a bat to awake from hibernation; therefore, they are very sensitive at this point in time. It is abnormal for bats to enter your house in the middle of winter. This is a potential sign that the bat is infected with the deadly bat disease, white-nose syndrome. As a result, please follow the instructions given below related to bats that are injured or dying.
If you find an injured, dying or dead bat
Try to capture the bat using the method described above
Next, place the box in a dark, quiet place
Across Canada, all dead or sick bats should be reported
Ontario: Contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) at 1-866-673-4781 or Natural Resources Information Centre at 1-800-667-1940
Manitoba: Contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) at 306-966-4815
Quebec: Contact the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) at 1-877-346-6763
For advice on what to do with and sick or injured bat, please contact your local rehabilitation centre after reporting the bat as directed above.