Bat Safety Tips
While a significant number of bats call the Texas A&M University campus home, the Environmental Health and Safety department reminds students, faculty and staff that the animals should not be touched or disturbed.
Those who come into contact with a bat, find one dead or alive in a campus building or see a bat that cannot fly are encouraged to call the Facilities Services Communications Center at 979-845-4311. Environmental Health and Safety also reminds members of the campus community to close all windows and doors, especially during the evening, to prevent bats and other animals from entering buildings.
Texas has the greatest biodiversity of bats in the United States, and College Station is home to several species. Samantha Leivers, a postdoctoral research associate part of the bat research team at Texas A&M’s Natural Resources Institute, said species native to Aggieland include the Mexican free-tailed bat – around 250,000 of which used to roost at Kyle Field before the football stadium’s renovation – Eastern red bat, tri-colored bat and evening bat.
Leivers said bats are most commonly seen at dusk and near water sources or artificial light sources, where they hunt for insects. If a bat finds its way into a building, that’s generally by accident, she said. Bats don’t actively try to enter buildings through windows and doors, but if they’re roosting in older buildings, they can sometimes find their way into an internal room through cracks and holes in the structure.
And while only about 1 percent of bats carry rabies, Leivers said it’s important to remember that they’re wild animals first and foremost.
“This means that not only can they carry transferable diseases or vectors such as rabies and mites, but they will actively defend themselves and thus make the transfer of these diseases much more probable,” Leivers said.
Finding a bat outside during daylight can be indicative of rabies, but there are otherwise no visible signs of the disease, so Leivers said any bat should be treated with caution.
“Furthermore, bats can be extremely delicate, and damage to their wing membranes from handling can be deadly – a bat that can’t fly is a bat that can’t eat,” Leivers said. “Handling bats should be left to those who have received proper training. Also, a number of bats are considered threatened or endangered, meaning that it is illegal to harm or kill them.”
More information about bats and rabies can be found at the Texas Department of State Health Services Infectious Disease Control website.
Media contact: Caitlin Clark, 979-458-8412, email@example.com.