EASTHAMPTON, Mass (WWLP) – The Easthampton Health Department is notifying residents on what to do if a bat is in your home and how serious exposure to bats can be.

According to the Easthampton Health Dept., bats carry the rabies virus and bites are difficult to see on human and pet skin.

Bill Killoran a Wildlife Specialist for Bramin Pest Control told 22News, “If you come in contact with a bat, that bat needs to be tested for rabies. It needs to be sent off to Jamaica Plains to the Public Health Department and they test it for rabies.”

Here are some other tips from the Easthampton Health Department:

  • Do not hit or swat the bat with an object that could potentially damage the brain
  • Do not release the bat unless you are positive no exposure occurred (for example, you saw the bat fly through a window and saw it fly right back out)
  • Use thick, puncture-proof gloves and cover the bat with a puncture-proof container such as a coffee can. Slide a piece of cardboard under the can and wait until the Animal Inspector of Animal Control arrives
  • Keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination

If the bat did touch or scratch you, make sure to contact your doctor right away. They will recommend proper treatment.

Bats are protected in Massachusetts so if you do find one in your home, don’t kill it.