MISSOULA – A bat that was discovered in the Rattlesnake area of Missoula has tested positive for rabies, according to Missoula County Animal Control.
Officials say it’s not always easy to recognize if a bat is rabid, but there are some warning signs you can look for.
Bats are nocturnal creatures, so if they are active during the day that could be a red flag, along with an inability to fly in a normal pattern.
If you believe that a bat might have rabies you can contact animal control and they can talk you through the process of dealing with the bat. In some instances they might come out to deal with it themselves but for the most part they can help you deal with a possible rabid bat over the phone.
“If you have a bat and you’re concerned about your dog or your cat or even yourself, you can capture the bat,” said Missoula County Animal Control supervisor Jeff Darrah. “You don’t want to put it in the freezer. You want to capture the bat and put it in a Tupperware container, or something like that, and take it to your local vet. There’s a small fee for shipping it off and having it tested, but it’s worth it.”
Darrah also says to make sure your pets have their rabies shots up to date.
If your pet is not up to date on their vaccinations when coming into contact with a rabies-infected animal, they could have to be quarantined for 120 days.
Previously in 2015, the Montana Department of Livestock issued a rabies quarantine for Missoula County for the first time in almost 20 years after a woman was bitten by a rabid skunk.
For more information on rabies in bats, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online.
Story by Connor McCauley, MTN News