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Two rabid bats found in Canyon County

Southwest District Health officials say one bat was found alive while the other was dead.
rabid bat

CANYON COUNTY, Idaho — Health officials issued a public warning Monday after rabid bats were found at two separate locations in Canyon County.

Southwest District Health (SWDH) said one of the bats was found alive outside an apartment complex. The other one was found dead on the ground in someone's yard.

While most bats don't carry rabies, health officials say bats are the only natural hosts for it in Idaho and they should always be avoided. There usually is an uptick in exposure calls from late August through September when bats are often migrating.

The number of rabies-positive bats found in Idaho in 2021 is now 13, down from 17 that tested positive for rabies in 2020.

Residents commonly encounter bats when a pet discovers them in a yard or other surrounding area and brings them into the house. People can also encounter a bat if it enters the house through a small opening, such as a window or a door.

It is also possible for people to wake up and discover a bat in the house, according to SWDH. In this situation, it can be difficult to be sure if anyone was bitten while they were asleep.

If a bat is found somewhere where people or pets can be exposed, it should be captured and sent in for rabies testing.

If you, a member of your household or a household pet encounters a bat, health officials recommend these steps:

  • Do not handle a bat with bare hands- always wear thick gloves.
  • If direct contact occurs, wear thick gloves to capture the bat and seek medical attention. Once the bat is contained, contact the local Idaho Fish and Game office for further guidance.
  • Contact the local public health district to test the bat for rabies.
  • Do not handle a sick or injured bat that is found outdoors. Contact Fish and Game for instructions.
  • Do not attempt to kill the bat by putting it in a freezer.
  • Consider bat-proofing your house by putting tight-fitting screens on windows.
  • Make sure all house pets, both indoor and outdoor, are vaccinated against rabies.
  • Ensure children know not to handle a bat themselves and to tell an adult if they fins one.

If you believe you, members of your house or your pets have been bitten by a bat, contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

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