What if a bat bites you?

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If you are bitten by a bat, you might not even know it. Bat’s teeth are super tiny, and some humans aren’t even aware that they have even been attacked by the flying critters. Not only that, bats can fly very fast so they’d much prefer to use this defense mechanism than stay and fight you. When you look at the difference in size between the two of you, it’s not surprising.

Bats will only attack if you have them cornered. If you were trying to trap them, for example, you may find that they lash out when they have no other option. They aren’t doing this maliciously, but are just trying to break free so that it can go about its life again. It acts in the same way with you as it would a natural predator, such as owls and hawks, birds, weasels, raccoons, and even cats and dogs. If it can’t run, it’ll fight, but it would much prefer the former over the latter.

Rabies as we know it is NOT present in bats. However, there have been reports of bats containing a relatively new strain of rabies over Europe. When you bear in mind that these animals often migrate, and we know nothing / very little of their wintertime habits, that strain of rabies making its way around the world cannot be ruled out.

EBLV, or European Bat Lyssavirus, comes in the form of a few different strains, and they have been reported in places such as Spain and the UK. Since the late seventies, over a thousand cases have been noted, and this is a number on the rise.

We appreciate that these are European bats, and not bats found in the United States, but there is still a chance that crossover could happen, however slight. It takes just one bite for that rabies infection to be spread, and in some cases, it doesn't even need a bite at all. If an animal has licked its claws, for example, before scratching you, the rabies virus could still be passed on via the saliva present on the claws. In the majority of cases, it will be bites and scratches that spread any type of the rabies virus, through saliva.

If you have been bitten by a bat, or you think you could have been bitten by a bat, you should seek professional advice. In dangerous diseases such as rabies, by the time symptoms have arrived the disease is already in its later stages. Treatment is not always successful, which means the case could result in death. Any wild animal bite must be treated as urgent until you are informed otherwise by a medical professional.

While you’re waiting for that expert opinion, we would definitely recommend cleaning the area that you believe you have been bitten. Use just warm water and some soap for this, saving the antibacterial agent for when your bite has been washed and dried. You should wash your wound for at least five minutes, making sure you have gotten all dirt, grime and other stuff out of it. If you have a disinfectant, you may want to consider using this.

If you can safely get your hands on the bat that has bitten you, try to do so. You should never try to reach for it with bare hands, however. Wear gloves, and protect yourself, particularly bare skin, as much as possible. The last thing you will want is two bites from this little flapping fella. Remember that bats will generally become rather aggressive if they are cornered and cannot get away, so you are going to run the risk of being attacked again if you try to go near it.

If you have the bat contained in your home, you could always call in the professionals to come and give you a hand. (That's people like us, by the way.) We can contain the little beast so that you can take it for a full assessment. That bat may need to be tested.

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