Bat Capture Kit

Recommended Items for a Bat Capture Kit

  • Gloves (heavy, preferably pliable thick leather)
  • Forceps (9" to 12" length, rat-tooth for gripping)
  • Extension pole with net (fine mesh insect net of polyester or muslin material with a spring steel hoop on telescoping pole - net and pole sold separately)
  • Coffee can with tight-fitting lid or similar container (e.g., cardboard ice cream carton with lid; keep multiple containers on hand) Sheet of cardboard to slide between wall and container to act as a lid
  • Tape (to secure lid on container)
  • Flashlights (including fresh batteries and extra batteries)
  • General Guidelines for Management of Bat-Related Incidents

To obtain some of the items listed above the following types of vendors are suggested:

  • Hardware Store/ home and garden center - gloves, extension pole, flashlight, batteries, tape
  • Medical Supply - forceps
  • Forestry supply company - fine mesh insect net

Instructions for Use of Bat Capture Kit

If a bat is within arm's reach, the coffee can method should be used. Carefully avoid direct contact with the bat and avoid damaging its head.

To capture the bat:

  • Close the windows, and the room and closet doors; turn on the lights if the room is dark
  • Wait for the bat to land
  • Wearing gloves (heavy, preferably pliable thick leather), cover the bat with a coffee can or similar container with a lid*
  • Slide a piece of cardboard under the can, trapping the bat
  • With one hand firmly holding the cardboard in place against the top of the can, turn the can right side up
  • Replace the cardboard with the lid (if no lid, tape the cardboard tightly to the can)
  • Immediately contact the Animal Control Officer or the Health Department to arrange for rabies examination of the bat.

If a bat is not within arm's reach, an extension pole with a net may be used to capture the bat:

  • While wearing gloves (heavy, preferably pliable thick leather), slowly approach the bat with net
  • Rotate the pole so that the bat is scooped into the net and the net turns in on itself containing the bat
  • With a gloved hand, grab the bat through the outside of the net, slide the coffee can into the net, push the bat into the can and place the lid on the can (if no lid, tape a piece of cardboard over the can)
  • Immediately contact the Animal Control Officer or the Health Department to arrange for rabies examination of the bat.
  • Note: If a bat has landed behind something or in a space that is too narrow to cover with a coffee can, forceps may be used to capture it. Using a gloved hand to hold the forceps, firmly but gently grasp the bat under a wing and close to its body. Place the bat in the bottom of the coffee can and release your grip on the forceps. Cover the coffee can and arrange for rabies examination.

In the event that 4 or more hours are needed before transportation of a bat for subsequent rabies testing, the bat should be double-bagged in plastic and placed in a cooler or refrigerated area. Under no circumstances should a bat be stored in the same cooler or refrigerator as food or pharmaceuticals. The specimen should be kept away from potential contact with people or other animals.