MISSOULA – A bat that was discovered in the Rattlesnake area of Missoula has tested positive for rabies, according to Missoula County Animal Control.
Officials say it’s not always easy to recognize if a bat is rabid, but there are some warning signs you can look for.
Bats are nocturnal creatures, so if they are active during the day that could be a red flag, along with an inability to fly in a normal pattern.
If you believe that a bat might have rabies you can contact animal control and they can talk you through the process of dealing with the bat. In some instances they might come out to deal with it themselves but for the most part they can help you deal with a possible rabid bat over the phone.
“If you have a bat and your concerned about your dog or your cat or even yourself,” said Jeff Darrah, Missoula County Animal Control supervisor. “You can capture the bat. You don’t want to put it in the freezer. You want to capture the bat and put it in a Tupperware container, or something like that, and take it to your local vet. There’s a small fee for shipping it off and having it tested, but it’s worth it.”
Darrah also says to make sure your pets have their rabies shots up-to-date.
If your pet is not up to date on their vaccinations when coming into contact with a rabies-infected animal, they could have to be quarantined for 120 days.
Local health department contact numbers and other information can be found on the DPHHS Rabies webpage.
Bats should be tested for rabies in all situations where there was potential for human or pet exposure, such as direct contact with the bat or sleeping in a room where the bat was found. Bats should also be tested in situations where direct contact cannot be ruled out, such as when a bat is found in a room with a sleeping child or a mentally incapacitated individual. For questions about exposures to bats within the home and how to submit bats for testing, contact your local health department.
Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News