Michigan is home to nine bat species. All of Michigan’s bats primarily eat insects. These insectivores provide important benefits to farmers and landowners by consuming harmful insects that damage crops. All bat species in Michigan are protected and may not be harmed. If you find a dead bat outdoors, contact your local DNR office to have it submitted for disease testing.
Bats can become nuisances when they enter homes, businesses or outbuildings. Bats can enter through very small cracks – just 1 ¼ inch by 3/8 inches in size.
Learn more on our bat page.
Prevent bats from entering buildings
- Conduct a thorough inspection in the early spring. Bats have pups around May 16 – July 31, it is difficult to remove all the pups during this timeframe.
- Monitor for entrance or exit holes.
- Seal any secondary exits or entrances.
- Install a bat house outside of the building in an area safe for bats to reside. Instructions for how to build a bat house can be found at Michigan.gov/Bats.
Check it out before you let it out
- If you suspect a person has been bitten by a bat or has had direct exposure, contact your local health department. Bats can transmit rabies to humans.
- If you suspect a pet has been bitten by a bat, contact your veterinarian. Bats can transmit rabies to animals as well.
- If the bat is dead, take it to the Health Department or veterinarian for disease testing.
- Learn more about rabies at Michigan.gov/Rabies.
Removing bats from the attic
- During the pup rearing time (approximately May 16 – July 31), it can be very difficult to remove bats, even with one-way doors. Young bats will struggle to escape and will likely die without their mothers. Consider removing them prior to or after the pup rearing time to avoid causing impacts to bat populations.
- Install a one-way bat exclusion device to the main exit/entrance. Leave in place for a few days until bats leave, remove device, and then seal off entrance/exit.
- For large colonies of bats, contact a nuisance animal control company.
Removing bats from the home
If it has been determined by the local health department or veterinarian that no exposure has occurred and the bat is not needed for testing, here are some tips for removing the bat:
- Confine the bat to one room.
- Open windows. Close the doors to the room and wait for the bat to leave.
- If the bat does not leave overnight, call a nuisance animal control company.
- If you choose to try to capture the bat yourself, always wear thick gloves. Slide a shoebox or other sturdy container over the bat and quickly place the lid on the box. Take the box outdoors, loosen the lid, and lean the box against a tree so that the bat may climb out. Bats cannot take flight from the ground, so use a rough structure that the bat can grip when releasing.
- If the bat enters the home in the winter, they should not be chased or released outdoors as they will not survive. Instead, call a nuisance control company.