Bats are scary, or so Hollywood would have you believe. Bats always spook people in the movies and, of course, Dracula could turn into a vampire bat.
But, are they really dangerous to humans? Should you be rushing to get exterminators after seeing a single bat?
What Bats Do
Bats are virtually blind, relying on a type of sonar to move around. Because they fly at dusk and in the darkness of the night, vision is not something that they need. In fact, their sonar is extremely accurate, allowing them to move effortlessly through any space.
Before we decide if bats are dangerous to humans it’s important to be aware that they are an important part of the ecological chain. Bats eat a variety of insects smaller than themselves. They are particularly fond of mosquitoes, which means they’re doing us a favor by eating them.
Some bats even help pollinate flowers, carrying the pollen on their bodies or secreting the seeds in their waste. This can even help reforest an area that has been damaged by humans or natural disasters.
Are They Dangerous
Bats can definitely be considered a nuisance when they fly straight at you in a confined space. IN fact, thanks to their sonar, they are extremely unlikely to hit you, they are simply heading for the most obvious exit.
However, bats are also wild creatures and can carry several diseases. These diseases can be transmitted by bite, from touching their skin, or even in their feces. Although a bat won’t usually bite a human, if it is injured and you try to help it you’ll probably scare it more and this will increase the risk of being bitten.
If you’re not vaccinated you shouldn’t be trying to hold a bat. Click here to find out more about your local pest control experts.
Diseases Carried By Bats
Australian Bat Lyssavirus is carried in the saliva of an infected bat. If the saliva comes into contact with broken skin then the disease can be transmitted into your blood. Unfortunately, this is usually fatal, although there have been very few cases reported.
Another disease, Hendra Virus can be spread from bat to horse. The horse may eat food contaminated with bat urine or saliva. This can then infect the horse and can be transmitted to you if you have close contact with the body fluids of the horse.
If you don’t handle horses regularly this is an unlikely scenario, but a possible one.
Another disease worth knowing about is Leptospirosis which can also be fatal to humans, although this is not always the case. This bacteria is in the urine of bats and you need to make sure your hands don’t come into contact with any breaks in your skin.
The safest approach is to avoid handling bats and to get medical aid if you are cut or bitten by a bat. This will help to keep you and your family safe. But remember, a bat won’t usually attack unless it feels threatened.