Vermont is home to nine bat species. Five are listed as either threatened or endangered. Below you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about how to safely live with bats.
Do bats have rabies?
Though less than 1 percent of bats test positive for rabies, it is a very
real threat and you should avoid direct contact with bats. More information on
rabies and bats can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
If you have been bitten or scratched by a bat or have found a bat in a room
with a sleeping, intoxicated, or mentally disabled person, a previously
unattended child, or an unvaccinated pet then you should call the rabies hotline
at 1-800-4RABIES, the Department of Health, or your physician immediately. Do not
let the bat out of the house until you are advised there is no concern for
Little brown bats, one of the species commonly found in homes, are endangered
in Vermont so you MUST fill out an Incidental Take
Form on our website within five days if the bat needs to be
captured or killed and sent for rabies testing.
The penalties and fines normally associated with killing an endangered animal
are avoided in the case of a potential rabies exposure if you fill out this
form. Please read see our General
Permit for more information.
What should I do if a bat gets in my house?
Don’t panic. This is very common in the summer when young bats first learn to
fly. We have detailed instructions for how to deal with “unwanted guests” in
your living space in our Bats
in Your House brochure. Bat Conservation International also has an excellent video
available that can walk you through removing a bat from your house.
If you suspect a potential rabies exposure (see the rabies question) call the
rabies hotline at 1-800-4RABIES, the Department of Health, or your physician. You
MUST fill out an Incidental
Take Form on our website within five days if the bat needs
to be captured or killed and sent for rabies testing.
What should I do if I find a sick or injured bat?
This is common during warm spells in July and August when bats can become
dehydrated. If anyone has had contact with the bat or you suspect a rabies
exposure, call the rabies hotline at 1-800-4RABIES, the Department
of Health, or your physician.
Please also call the bat experts at the Vermont Fish & Wildlife
Department at (802)786-0098 for helpful guidance on what to do
with the bat.
In many cases, bats simply become dehydrated and with a little guidance can
be successfully placed back outside at nightfall. If you are unable to reach
someone, please leave a message or fill out our Sick Acting Bat
Form and we will contact you during working hours.
When in doubt, it is best to return wildlife to the wild. Use gloves to place
the bat outside at nightfall on something high and safe from predators, like a
tree branch, so that the bat can return to its natural roost. Avoid placing the
bat in a box or any other container it may not be able to escape
What should I do if I find a dead bat?
Young bats experience high mortality in July and August when they first learn
to fly. The young pups often become disoriented or dehydrated.
If you find a dead bat, do not handle it directly. If you have any questions
about a possible rabies exposure, call 1-800-4RABIES, the Department
of Health, or your physician.
Please fill out our Sick
Acting Bat Form or call 786-0098. Your information will
aid us in tracking bat activity throughout the state. If rabies testing is not
required the bat can be placed in a plastic bag and put into the
Do you want to hear about healthy bats too?
We are especially interested in colonies of bats living in buildings
since they may include the state endangered little brown bat. Please fill out
Colony Reporting Form or call 802-786-0098.
How do I keep bats from entering my house?
The best way to keep bats out of the house is to make sure that windows are
not left open without screens in them, and to maintain your house to prevent
cracks and crevices from forming that allow bats to enter.
Why do bats continue to enter my house and how are they getting
Bats are opportunists. They do not chew or dig to create holes, but are able
to find and utilize openings as small as ½ inch wide. These openings are
commonly found around the chimney, under flashing, through attic vents, under
slate roof tiles, and at roof edges, ridge caps, soffits, and fascia boards.
Watch for bats exiting from these areas at dusk or returning at dawn. Look
for piles of guano (bat droppings) or dark body staining around the entry and
exit points. Also, look for entries from the roost into the living space around
attic access doors, chimneys, and other openings to attic spaces around closets
and ceilings. For more information, read our Bats
in Your House brochure.
If I find a bat in my house, does that necessarily mean they are living
If you frequently have bats in your living space, there is a good chance they
are living somewhere in the building--most likely an attic space.
If this is the first time you have seen a bat in the house, it may be a lost
or confused individual that flew in through an open window or door during a warm
summer night. Learn more in our Bats
in Your House brochure.
If I have lots of bats living in my home, how can I get them
If you believe there are a number of bats living in your attic, basement, or
living space, then you probably have a “maternity colony” of little brown or big
brown bats. These species form large groups in the summer to raise their young
in warm and protected spaces, such as attics. Big brown bats also sometimes
overwinter in unheated attics and basements instead of hibernating in caves and
The little brown bat is endangered in Vermont so harming, harassing or
killing these bats violates the endangered species law and may result in large
fines (with the exception of a potential rabies exposure). However, you can
safely exclude bats from your home by following our Best
We are very interested in mapping house-bat colonies around the state and
helping you to properly exclude bats if needed. Please fill out our Bat
Colony Reporting Form and contact us at (802)786-0098 if
you would like a list of nuisance wildlife control professionals in your
How much will it cost me to have someone else get the bats out of my
The cost for professional bat colony exclusion varies depending on how long
the bats have been there, how old and large your house is, and where you live.
It is best to call around and get quotes from several nuisance wildlife
We can provide you with the names of some specialists in your area if you
call 802-786-0098. You also may find companies listed online or
in the phone book under “pest control” or “nuisance wildlife.”
The state-endangered little brown bat gathers in summer colonies in attics
and barns. All pest control or nuisance wildlife professionals in Vermont must
fill out a nuisance
bat work report if excluding little brown bats from buildings.
Be sure to ask nuisance wildlife control professionals if they follow
Management Practices for properly excluding bats from buildings. They will
need a special permit from the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources to
exclude bats if they do not follow these guidelines.
I am a pest control/nuisance wildlife specialist. What should I know about
excluding bats from buildings?
The little brown bat is one of two species that prefers to set up summer
colonies in buildings. Due to drastic population losses from White-nose
Syndrome the little brown bat is now endangered in
If you perform bat exclusion work, you are likely to encounter this bat. If
you are unsure which species you are working with, please follow our guide
to identifying little brown and big brown bats.
All pest control or nuisance wildlife specialists in Vermont must follow
Management Practices and fill out a nuisance bat work
report when excluding bats from buildings. If these guidelines are not
followed, you will need to apply for a State Threatened and Endangered Species Permit from the
Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources.
We also recommend the installation of a bat house before the completion of
all exclusions to increase the survival of displaced bats.
What can I do to help the bats in Vermont?
Do you want to know about the bats living in my attic or barn?
Yes! If you find a bat colony (10 or more bats) in your Vermont residence,
PLEASE HELP by reporting the colony using our at Bat Colony Reporting
Form. We are trying to learn more about the state-endangered little brown
bats, which often congregate in attics or barns during the summer to raise their
If you are wondering if you have little brown bats, look at our guide
to identifying house bat species. Your observations are invaluable to the
conservation and recovery of Vermont’s bats.
Where do I buy a bat house or how can I build one myself?
The best sources for pre-built bat houses are Bat Conservation International and Bat Conservation and Management.
Bat houses need to be the correct dimensions, located on a post or building
(never a tree), painted black, and receive maximum sunshine to entice bats to
occupy the structure.
Find research-proven designs for building your own bat house along with more
tips for proper placement on the Bat Conservation International website. Also see our tips
How do I get bats to live in my empty bat house?
It sometimes takes a few years for bats to find and move in to a new bat
house. However, you can increase your chances for success by making sure your
bat house design and placement follow research-proven guidelines. You can find
these in our Attracting
Vermont’s Bats brochure and on the Bat Conservation International website.