Warm weather is creating a real 'bat' problem

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The first summer heat wave is creating a real bat problem for many homeowners in the Willamette Valley.

Gordon Brown, Senior Environmental Health Specialist for Benton County says, "People are leaving their windows open at night when bats are most active, and if they aren't screen, they're more likely to come into the house."

There lies the problem. Brown says the Environmental Health Division is receiving two to three calls per week about bats flying into their homes unnoticed at night or pets finding them in the yards.

"About one to two percent of bats do carry rabies, and so we want to encourage people to take caution around bats."

Brown warns that if you or your pets are bitten by a bat and are not vaccinated, fatality rates are close to 100%.

"They roost in attics, so if you have an older house in particular you may want to take some steps to make sure they're bat proof.

Brown says step one is to make sure to get vaccinated. Two, bat proof your house, screen your windows and doors.

If you are bitten by a bat, Brown says to contact authorities, and if it's safe enough try to catch the bat to test for rabies. "If it's safe to catch, you should put on some leather gloves. Use something like a coffee can to cover it. Use a piece of cardboard. Slide it between the can and the wall, and make sure it's taped."

Brown says if you encounter bats, leave them alone.

"Don't disturb them when they are roosting. Best thing to do is to just leave them alone, and let them have their part in nature."