News Releases

FWC provides tips to coexist with bats

News Release

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-754-1294

Bats are a common sight in many areas of the state, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to ensure Florida’s residents and visitors can coexist with these native creatures.

Some bats in coastal areas were displaced by recent storm damage and may be looking for new places to call home, and they might want to share your house.

The best course of action to prevent bats from entering your house or structure is to take stock of your building and check for any gaps or spaces bats might use as access points. Bats can squeeze through openings the size of a nickel or larger.

If you are trying to remove bats from your dwelling, exclusion is the only legal and appropriate method.

Bat exclusion is a multistep technique where all potential bat entry and exit points in a building are identified. One-way exit devices are installed to allow bats to leave the structure but not re-enter. Finally, after the exclusion is completed, all potential bat entry points are permanently sealed to prevent re-entry by bats. Common pest control methods such as poison, relocations and fumigants are illegal to use on bats in Florida and also are ineffective.

Step-by-step information for completing a bat exclusion can be found at MyFWC.com/Bats by clicking “Bats in Buildings” and then “How Do I Evict or Exclude Bats From My Home or Building.”

Bats are ecologically and economically beneficial and are protected by Florida law. One bat can consume hundreds of insects a night. There are 13 resident bat species in Florida and all feed on night-flying insects. Bats save U.S. farmers billions of dollars annually by controlling insects that damage crops and spread disease among livestock.

“Bats are great to have around your house,” said Yasmin Serajfar, FWC wildlife assistance biologist. “They are nature’s pest control. But you don’t want them roosting in your home.”

Why do bats roost in buildings? Bat colonies move into warm areas of buildings, such as an attic. These areas are selected because they maintain a consistently warm temperature and provide protection from the elements, predators and other disturbances. Sometimes after a roost is disturbed, bats move into human-occupied dwellings. This is especially a concern for attic spaces.

Bat droppings can accumulate in areas where they roost, and make these areas unsanitary for people.

For more information about bats, check out MyFWC.com/Bats. If you would like to learn more about bat exclusions or have questions, call the FWC north central regional office at 386-758-0525. 

Common Myths About Bats

  • There's an epidemic of rabies in bats. FALSE
    The incidence of rabies in wild bats is very low, and outbreaks in colonies appear to be rare. People contracting rabies is also extremely rare, with only two to three cases reported annually in the United States.
  • If one bat in a colony is rabid, they're all sick. FALSE
    Rabies is very rare, and the likelihood of one individual in a bat colony having rabies does not dramatically increase the chances of others in the colony having it. 
  • All grounded bats are sick. FALSE
    Young bat pups sometimes become grounded when they're learning to fly. 
  • All people exposed to bats will get rabies. FALSE
    Rabies can only be transmitted through contact with the saliva or brain tissue of an infected individual bat. 
  • Bats regularly attack people. FALSE
    Bats typically bite only in self-defense when disturbed. 
  • Bats are attracted to human hair. FALSE
    Bats don't aim for a person's hair. Bats are excellent fliers, capable of maneuvering with great agility in complete darkness to catch very small flying insects. They may swoop close to a person's face, but if you don't panic and thrash about, they won't fly into you. 
  • All bats suck blood. FALSE
    All bats native to Florida eat insects. None of them suck blood. Three species of vampire bats that are found in Central and South America do feed on blood but they do not live in Florida. 
  • Bats chew wires and holes in buildings. FALSE
    The teeth of each bat species are specifically adapted only for chewing the particular types of food they consume such as insects.



FWC Facts:
Adult Florida bass usually eat crayfish and other fish, but on rare occasions eat snakes and birds.

Learn More at AskFWC