Rabies and Precautions
Bats are wild mammals and do carry rabies, however rabies only occurs in about .5 percent (1 in 200) of the bats in a population. For comparison, rabies in wild raccoons can occur at up to 35 percent (1 in 3.)
Unlike other mammals, rabid bats do not show aggression, but are more likely to be found on the ground, sluggish and easy for children to pick up. Children must be warned to NEVER touch any bat, because bats found on the ground are much more likely to be rabies-positive and may bite in self-defense. Instead, have an adult notify a trained professional with protective gear and pre-exposure rabies vaccinations to handle or remove bats. If a bat must be removed by an untrained adult, use a coffee can with a piece of stiff cardboard. Place the can over the bat and gently slide the cardboard under the can, trapping the bat inside without touching it, or use heavy leather gloves.
For assistance or additional information, contact UF Environmental Health and Safety Pest Management Services, 352-392-1904 or University Police, 352-392-1111.