our Better Nature Home
Fruit bat  

Bat habitat is declining - bat houses can help. Little or Big brown bats are the species most likely to use a bat house in CT. More....

printer friendly page
- by E. A. Zimmerman

The CT DEP is often asked how to get rid of a bat or bats that have gotten inside a house or attic.  Keep in mind that bats are wild animals, and can bite if handled, so never touch them with bare hands – always use heavy leather gloves.  If you have just one bat in a room of your house, try opening the windows and then closing the door to the room.  It may simply fly out a window.  If that doesn’t work, throw a large towel or blanket on top of the visitor, gather it up and then bring it outside.  The bat should be able to get out of the cloth by itself. 

Bat house on tree, not a good idea.
Above: Bat houses mounted on trees are seldom used.  It is better to attach a bat box to the outside of a building, or to mount it on a pole.    Morguefile.com photo.
Below: A community bathouse, E. Zimmerman photo.
Community bathouse.  Photo by Bet Zimmerman

Bats are constantly grooming themselves, so they are fairly clean animals.  However, large numbers of bats will generate large quantities of poop.  Bat guano is not white and chalky like bird droppings.  It looks more like a mega-mouse turd with bug bits in it.  

If lots of bats are roosting in a building, it is hard to get them to move along.  The best approach is exclusion.  Screen crevices and openings bigger than ¼ to ½ of an inch.  If you can see where the bats leave from at dusk, cover that opening with ½” polypropylene bird netting or clear plastic sheeting.   Never do this from June through mid-August, as very young bats cannot fly.  Thus they could be trapped and die inside your house, which would be cruel and would NOT smell good.

Non-chemical repellants like floodlights or a fan that cools off an attic may encourage bats to leave. You can also hired a State-licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator to help solve the problem – for a list call 860.424.3011 or go to www.ct.gov/dep and type “NWCO” in the search box. Mothballs and ultrasonic devices are NOT effective. 

In China, bats are considered a symbol of happiness and good luck.  Unfortunately, many bat species are in serious decline, in part because their natural habitats are shrinking.  Without bats, our world would change.  Bats play a key role in the ecosystem by pollinating plants and eating insects.  They save farmers billions of dollars each year by controlling agricultural pests.  And when it comes to your backyard, just think of the benefits of encouraging these natural predators to roost nearby.  If one Little brown bat eats 1,000 mosquitoes a night, then ten Little brown bats can eat 10,000 mosquitoes every night. 

While it pays to be cautious about rabies (see next week’s article), putting up a bat house is a good idea.  Artificial bat shelters provide protection from predators and nasty weather, and offer seclusion for rearing young.  According to Bat Conservation International, installing a bat house will not increase the likelihood of a bat coming into your attic.  Actually, one very effective way to get bats to move OUT of an attic or barn is to put up large bat houses nearby.

You can buy or build a bat house. See www.batcon.org, www.batroost.com, or www.ct.gov/dep for free plans. Select a house suited for Little or Big brown bats, which are the species most likely to use a bat house in CT. The best bat houses have a rough surface inside, are caulked, and have an opening in the bottom. In CT, the outside should be stained a dark color. Bigger is better. To prevent paper wasps from building nests at the top of roosting chambers, the partitions should extend all the way to the ceiling of the house. Remove any empty wasp nests in late winter or early spring. 

Placement is important. The best spot is on a building, 15-20 feet above the ground, near water, with a southern or southeastern exposure that gets 6-10 hours of sun each day to keep it warm. Put a box up before April to improve your chances, which are probably about 60%. Be patient – it might take a year or more before the house is occupied. To assist in conservation efforts, please report bat house successes or failures to the CT DEP Nonharvested Wildlife Program at 860.675.8130.

Next week:  The truth about bats and rabies.

Originally published in the Villager newspapers on November 7, 2008




Fun kids games and activities
Fun Kids Games!

grief, illness, caregiver
Love, Loss & Gratitude

  Our Better Nature

HOME | Site Map | Contact | Contact webmaster about text link ad placement

If you experience problems with the website/find broken links/have suggestions/corrections, please contact me!
The purpose of this site is to share information with anyone interested in environmental protection.
Feel free to link to it, or to print hard copies for personal or educational purposes (see permissions) with a citation for the author. I have no responsibility or input on articles written by other authors.
No permission is granted for any commercial use or reproduction online.
Appearance of ads on this site does not constitute endorsement of any of those services or products!
If you are interested in placing text links or other ads on this site, contact the webmaster.
©2007 Chimalis. Original photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without the permission of the photographer.
See disclaimer, necessitated by today's sadly litigious world.
Last updated December 27, 2016

HOME | Conservation | Open Space and the Outdoors | Pollution Prevention | Wildlife | Contact | Search