Expert weighs in after rabid bats found in Kentucky

Bats in Kentucky
Bats in Kentucky(wkyt)
Published: Jul. 18, 2021 at 1:03 PM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Recently, there have been reports of rabid bats found in Jefferson and Oldham Counties. While rabies is uncommon across the state, it’s important to know what to look out for if you encounter an animal you think may have the disease.

“If you’re seeing a bat, of course, in the daytime, that’s not normal,” said Luke Dodd, Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Eastern Kentucky University.

After recent cases in the state, it’s important to know what to do if you spot a potentially rabid bat or another animal.

“But, if you were to see, you know say, a bat roosting on the eve of a window or the side of your house during the daylight hours, and it’s not necessarily behaving erratically, then it’s just taking a nap,” said Dodd.

Bats are migratory animals, but they generally stay in one area specifically before migrating to hibernate in the winter.

This begs the question, can the bats from the Louisville area become a problem in Lexington?

“Bats usually in the western part of our state or the northern part of the state to actually get to Fayette county at this point is pretty minor, and that should definitely not be something to worry about,” said Dodd.

Of course, bats aren’t the only animal in Kentucky notorious for rabies contraction. Raccoons, foxes, cats, and dogs can also be infected, but it helps if you know what to look for.

“Just any sort of wild animal kind of wandering around doesn’t seem to be on its way, and it’s not necessarily afraid of you. Those are all cues to contact the Kentucky department of fish and wildlife recourses, and they will be able to help you out,” said Dodd.

It is important to note only about two humans a year in the United States contract rabies, but as long as you leave nature alone, you should not contact an infected animal.

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