Last Updated: June 2016
Wildlife removal always comes with the concern for rabies- a serious virus that presents itself in mammals and is transferred through the saliva of the animal. While not all animals carry the virus, it only takes one case of being bitten to turn into a bad situation. For this reason, it is important to be well educated of the effects, the symptoms, how to avoid it and the types of animals who are likely to carry it. Rabid bats are one of the more common types of cases that occur in Ontario. While there are other animals in Ontario who are known to have carried the virus such as raccoons, skunks and foxes, rabid bats are also more difficult to control. When controlling the virus in other species, professionals lace bait with a vaccine that helps protect the mammal from contracting it. Bats, on the other hand are insectivores which makes the process more difficult.
Rabies, also known as the Lyssavirus is a virus that affects mammal on almost every continent with many cases occurring in Asia and Africa. In Ontario the more prevalent types of species who are known to have carried the virus are raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. When infected, the virus affects the central nervous system of the brain. This causes the animal to behave unnaturally. Some of the symptoms that occur in animals infected with rabies are the following:
- Symptoms of fever
- Biting at anything
- Initially behaving tired, slow, lethargic and then very excited
- Acting Aggressive
- Has trouble breathing
- Salivating excessively
Steer clear of animals who are presenting symptoms of rabies and immediately call a professional wildlife removal service to your aid. Definitely do not try to contain the animal yourself whether it is on your property or not.
Rabies are transferred from mammal to mammal through infected saliva in close proximity with eyes and mouth, it is transmitted from bites, scratches or an open wound. The rabies virus is not contracted through contact of unbroken skin, blood or excretions of a rabid animal although it is still best to contact a medical professional if you or your pet comes into contact with either of these as a precaution.
In humans, when somebody has contracted the rabies virus their symptoms are similar to that of a rabid animal along with flu-like symptoms, headaches or weakness, hallucination and insomnia. If you or anybody you know is experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately as death is usually imminent from rabies.
Rabies in the past years have effectively been controlled with the laced bait left out in the wild for animals to find that vaccinates them. Although successful in certain species, unfortunately not all animals were able to be vaccinated in that manner resulting in rabid bats.
Bats and Rabid Bats
There have been several cases of rabid bats as well as bats carrying other disease widespread which is most likely the reason of people placing high caution when it comes to these flying mammals. In 2014, there were 18 reported cases of rabid bats in Ontario. The reason why the number of rabid bats in Ontario is higher than that of other species are due to the fact that it is more difficult to control. As mentioned earlier, vaccinations of other species occurs when animals eat the bait deliberately laid out for them that is laced with the vaccine. This method has been successful in reducing the number of rabies cases in raccoons, skunk and foxes. Unfortunately, due to the fact that bats are insectivores, lacing and baiting their meals are more difficult. Rabid bats will act more aggressive, show a staring expression and may behave disoriented and as a result, have trouble flying. Rabid bats are also not as common as they are made out to be. As a result of the misconception bats are killed and their population has declined significantly. While they do exist, rabid bats are definitely not the only species to spread the disease to other animals or humans. When encountering a rabid bat or any animal with rabies symptoms, do not take the drastic measure of killing or handling the animal yourself. Instead call a wildlife professional for bat removal or a veterinarian to report the incident following any further instructions. Keep your pets safe by getting them vaccinated for rabies and keeping them away from an infected animal before an incident can occur.
If you are injured or have made close contact with wildlife showing signs of rabies immediately wash out the wound with warm water and soap and call for medical help immediately. As soon as possible, report the incident to a veterinarian or a professional wildlife removal technician to handle the animal. If a bat makes an appearance in a child’s room, in a room where somebody has been sleeping or near somebody who is disabled, report the incident. Bat bites are not always noticeable.
If you are concerned with bats entering your home, interacting with your family or near your pets, here are a couple tips for you to use
- Check the house for any holes, spaces or potential entrances where a bat can possibly enter from
- Cover these spaces by patching them up or using screens to prevent the bat from entering
- Keep your eyes open during winter time as bats use this season for hibernation
- Educate yourself and your children about bats and other wildlife. Remind children to not go near any wild animal regardless of whether it is portraying signs of rabies or not
- Vaccinate all your pets
- Ensure that any storage bins, trash, or anywhere that can serve as a habitat or food source for a wild animal is tightly sealed
- Keep this phone number in a place that is easily accessible or seen: Rabies Hotline at 1-888-574-6656.
In the event where you are already hosting a bat on you property or notice signs of wildlife in your house give us a call. At SOS Wildlife Control, we provide superior wildlife removal services for residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Let us help you solve your wildlife problems. Taking action before it’s too late will help eliminate animal damage repair costs. We can easily be reached at 1-800-981-0330. Don’t wait and call us to schedule an appointment for a thorough inspection to help evacuate all your unwanted wildlife guests in the most humane way possible.