This page will tell you how to help a sick or injured bat. If the animal you’ve found is not a bat, click here to go back to the species selection page.
Signs that a bat is sick or injured
The following signs indicate that a bat may need medical attention:
- There are obvious wounds or blood on its body
- One or more of its wings, legs, or head look like they’re pointing in the wrong direction
- There is string, oil, glue, or some other substance on its body
- It bat cannot fly
- The bat is found on the ground, or roosting in a spot where it is easily reached without a ladder
- You found the bat awake in the winter time – even if it was found indoors
- It has had contact with a cat – even with no obvious injuries, this is a medical emergency for bat
If you’ve determined that the bat needs help, the next step is getting it safe and secure until you can find help for it. If you already have it contained, click here for help finding a wildlife rehabilitator.
Be careful with bats
Bats are considered a rabies vector species in Ontario – this DOES NOT mean that they all have rabies. It just means that they should be handled with a little more care and caution. When containing a bat, make sure to wear gloves and avoid direct contact with the animal. Click here for more information about rabies in Ontario.
How to safely contain a bat
To safely contain a bat, it’s best to use an indirect method and to wear gloves. You will need:
- A plastic container with a tight-fitting lid like a tupperware or a clean margarine container – make sure to poke air holes in the lid (no wider than a pencil) before you get started!
Have you ever caught a spider to put it outside by putting a cup over it and sliding a piece of paper underneath? You can contain a bat exactly the same way! Approach the back calmly and quietly, and place the container over it, being careful of its delicate wings. Slide the lid underneath to contain the bat, and snap it in place. If the bat is hanging from a wall, make sure to slide the lid up from the bottom of the container — this will allow their little feet to let go of the wall safely.
Because bats are very good at escaping, we recommend containing them in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid (with air holes!) rather than a cardboard box. If you already have the bat in a box, that’s okay — just make sure to tape up all the seams so it’s nice and secure.
Remember – human safety first! If at any point you feel afraid or uncomfortable, contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice. They can give you species-based tips and tricks, or talk you through a tricky rescue.
Once the bat is contained, put it in a warm, dark, quiet place like a bathroom or basement, and contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice.
While you are waiting to hear back from a wildlife rehabilitator, keep the animal contained in a dark, quiet place. Don’t give it any food or water until you have spoken to a rehabilitator . Further temporary care instructions can be found here.