How can I avoid bats while hiking or camping?

Some bats roost in tree cavities or foliage and might be spotted in areas where outdoor activities take place, such as hiking or camping. While there have been instances of humans exposed to rabid bats, most bats in a natural setting are not rabid and, in many outdoor situations, the presence or sighting of bats is common and normal.

However, precautions can be taken at outdoor locales to help minimize the risk of exposure to bats and their excretions:

  • When possible, prevent bats from entering outdoor living quarters and other occupied spaces. Consider "bat-proofing" your living space.
  • Screens or mosquito netting can provide a useful barrier against direct bat contact.
  • Teach children to never to handle live or dead bats, as well as any unfamiliar wild or domestic animals (even if they appear friendly). Tell them to report any contact or unusual animal behavior to an adult right away.
  • In some settings, materials contaminated with bat droppings may have to be disposed of or decontaminated. In these situations, local and state authorities can provide more information on the requirements for the removal, transportation and disposal of contaminated material. Clean-up of areas contaminated with bat droppings should not be attempted by non-trained personnel, and proper personal protective equipment, including respirator, mask, gown and gloves, should be worn by anyone handling the potentially infectious material.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.