Living with Bats

There are 23 species of bats native to Nevada. Bats are very beneficial, feeding on a variety of flying insects including mosquitoes. A single Little Brown bat can catch 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour. In Nevada, bats occupy a variety of habitats ranging from natural desert washes to high elevation tree canopy. They also live in human-made structures like mines, barns, garages, and in some cases even attics in houses.

What should I do if a bat is roosting on my house?

Bats will temporarily roost in an area like a porch, patio, garage, roof gutter, or in the eaves. They may be resting or be attracted to areas where there is high insect activity like around porch lights. If you don’t want bats to hunt insects, rest and roost around your house use bug lights or a motion sensor light instead of white lights. You can also discourage bats from your porch by using a noise maker such as a radio operated by a motion sensor or smooth the surface of the area you wish to defend.

Bats have made their home inside of my house, what should I do?

The answer to this depends on the time of year. If you have a maternity roost (females and their pups) it is best to leave them alone until the young are able to fly and leave the roost. Do not exclude bats between the months of May through August. During this time, females will give birth to pups and will be nursing them. Just like with humans, juvenile bats are helpless and require care from their mothers. The pups will not be able to fly just yet, so if you try to exclude them, you may end up with juvenile bats trapped in your house. Not good for them… or you! 

Once the pups can fly, you can contact a critter removal company to seal the exits and install a one-way opening. After you are sure that all the bats have left the area, you can seal up that opening and live bat free! 

You can also install a bat house and place it away from your house to help prevent the eaves of your attic from being inhabited. You if want to purchase a bat box or download a design to construct one yourself visit the Bat Conservation International (BCI) web site at

Please keep in mind, bats are protected in Nevada and they should not be lethally removed unless instructed by an NDOW representative. 

What should I do if I find an injured bat?

The best thing to do is leave the bat alone, a bat being on the ground does not necessarily mean that it is injured. Some bats end up on the ground and will eventually fly off. If it is a larger bat like our Western Mastiff bat, they will find a tree or tall structure to climb then they will fly off. When in doubt, give the animal plenty of space. Bats cannot be rehabbed in Nevada, so its only chance of survival is to leave it alone.

What if I find a bat inside my house?

If the bat has had no contact with any individuals inside the house (this includes pets), you can try to isolate the bat in one room. Once in a room, open up the windows and screens and turn off all the lights. Leave the room and keep the area quiet to encourage the bat to leave on its own. If this does not work, or if the bat has had contact with an individual inside of the house, please reach out to NDOW. 

I found a dead bat, what should I do?

If the bat is recently deceased and has had contact with an individual or pet,  you can take the bat to the Nevada Department of Agriculture for testing for rabies. You can also call us if you need assistance with transportation. If you can’t take the bat right away or it can’t be picked up immediately, double bag the sample and place it in the refrigerator. 

If the bat is desiccated and you don’t know when it died, you can dispose of the bat in the garbage. Double bag it and place it in your trash receptacle for pickup. You can also bury the carcass if you don’t want to throw it away. 

I’m worried about rabies, is it prevalent in Nevada?

Bats can carry rabies (just like other mammals) and they are considered a vector species for rabies. However, it is a relatively rare occurrence in Nevada, with less than 1% of bats actually testing positive for rabies in the state. To limit any potential exposure, you should limit handling any bats dead or alive. If you must handle them, wear leather gloves and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. 

To ensure pets safety, please make sure to get all cats and dogs vaccinated for rabies and ensure they are up to date on their booster shots. 

What if I am bitten by a bat?

If you do not handle a bat, the odds of contracting rabies are extremely small. Do not handle bats – leave them alone. In the unlikely event that you, or your pet, are bitten by a bat, call the State Health Department and see your doctor or vet. If you can safely contain the bat, please do so and contact us immediately to ensure the bat gets tested as soon as possible. If the bat is dead, please double bag the sample and place it in the refrigerator.

Why do bats keep swooping at my pool?

Bats rely on natural pools, ponds, streams, and other calm bodies of water as their main source of hydration. They will swoop down, take sips of water, and fly away. The process takes place in one smooth motion. In arid desert areas of Nevada, swimming pools may provide useful substitutes for natural ground-water sources. If you see bats swooping down into your pool, it can not only be an alarming interruption to your swim time, but it can also have detrimental effects on the survival of the bats.

Bats are good swimmers in natural bodies of water where they can easily crawl out, but the walls of a swimming pool can make it impossible for a bat to escape and cause them to drown. To reduce the risk that your pool poses to bats, remove obstructions around pools or put in escape ramps so bats can swim around and get out.

Bats are also attracted to the insects, like mosquitos, that are attracted to the lights in and around your pool. If you want to reduce the presence of bats around your pool, it can help to turn off light sources or place red covers over lights to limit the number of insects attracted to the area.

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