Veterinary Public Health


Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
vet@ph.lacounty.gov
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Bat in the House
If you encounter a bat in your home, think carefully before you release it outdoors.

 

The bat might have exposed a person or pet to rabies, and might need to be tested. Please read this page carefully. This information is also available in the form of a flow chart.

 


Have an encounter with a bat in LA County?
Call Public Health for rabies exposure consultation 213-989-7060 8-5pm
after hours 213-240-7941 (Physician on Call)

 
Did you see the bat enter your home?
NO

This is a higher-risk situation. Los Angeles County residents should contact public health for rabies exposure consultation at 213-989-7060 (during business hours 8-5pm) or  213-240-7941 (after hours). Be prepared to discuss the following questions with Public Health to determine if rabies exposure may have occurred:

  • Did the bat have access to a room in where someone was sleeping?

  • Are there any small children present or other individuals who may not be able to communicate whether or not they’ve handled the bat?

  • Is there any way someone in your house could have been in contact with the bat or exposed to rabies?

  • Do you have pets that may have come in contact with the bat?

If there is any chance someone could have come in direct contact with the bat, the bat needs to be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Call your local animal control for assistance. If you can do so, try to safely capture and contain the bat (see below) right away to prevent it from landing on people or pets. If the test results are positive, anyone who may have come in contact with the bat will need post-exposure shots.

YES

If you saw the bat fly in and are certain that it did not have the opportunity come in contact with any people or pets, you can trap the bat in one room, close the doors, and open all windows to provide it with a chance to escape. If it does not leave call your local animal control  for assistance or refer to the "How to safely capture a bat in your home" section below A bat bite is very small and can easily go unnoticed (especially if the victim is asleep), so please consider the situation carefully and call public health if there is any question.

HOW TO SAFELY CAPTURE A BAT IN YOUR HOME
  1. Move children, incapacitated adults, and pets away from the bat.

  2. Close all doors to trap it in one room.

  3. Put on leather work gloves.

  4. Find a solid container such as coffee can, cardboard box, or plastic container, a piece of cardboard large enough to cover the opening, and tape to later seal the cardboard to the container. Punch small air holes in the cardboard. If the bat is on the floor, simply place your container over it, then slide the cardboard carefully underneath. If the bat is on a wall, gently place the container over the bat and carefully slide a piece of cardboard between the container and the wall to isolate the bat. Tape the cardboard snugly to the container. Place in a quiet shaded place, far from people and pets.

  5. If there was any possibility the bat had direct contact with a person or pet, contact your local animal control (link to animal control) to arrange rabies testing.

  6. If the bat escapes or is not tested for any reason, contact public health for a consultation on rabies 213-989-7060 during business hours and 213-240-7941 after business hours.

If you are certain that there is no possibility of rabies exposure and that the bat did not come into contact with any people or any pets, Wait until after night falls to complete the release. Bats tend to have more difficulty taking flight off the ground, so try to release the bat onto an elevated surface. You can release the bat by holding up the container, slowly lifting the lid, and slightly tilting the cardboard. Alternatively, you could also hold the container next to a tree or wall when you lift it, allowing the bat to cling onto a high surface.


What should I do if I find a bat in the house?
What if I see a bat outside?
 How can I get bats out of the attic?
Are you considering building a bat house?
Which disease do bats carry?
FAQ
 
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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