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How to Care for a Brown Bat

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard Box

  • Piece of cardboard

  • Scissors

  • Insects

  • Gloves

The brown bat can catch about 600 mosquitoes in a one hour period. Not only do they play an important role in controlling garden, forest, and agricultural pests, brown bats also create new plant growth through pollination and seed dropping. Brown bats are the most common bat-species found in the United States and Canada and are not meant to be kept as pets. However, if you do come across a brown bat, it is always good to know what to do and how to take care of it.

Know the law. Harming or capturing bats is illegal and can result in hefty fines. Bats are protected by the law. To keep bats, one has to have the necessary state and local permits for native wildlife and be USDA licensed.

Be aware that brown bats are supposed to live in the wild. They are not meant to be kept as pets. Brown bats kept as pets will most likely not live longer than one year. In the wild however, they can live up to 25 years. If you find a brown bat indoors, it is most likely a migrating bat that cannot find his way outdoors, or a lost youngster.

Wear gloves to protect yourself. Many people fear bats because they can carry the Rabies virus. Protect yourself by preventing any direct contact with the bat.

Puncture holes into a cardboard box with the scissors. Bats can easily crawl through small spaces, so keep the holes small.

Place the box over the brown bat and use the piece of cardboard to scoop the bat into the box.

Release the bat by opening the box outside when it is dark. The bat will fly away. If it doesn't fly away, something may be wrong with it and additional assistance may be needed.

Contact your local wildlife rehabilitator and schedule a time for them to pick up the bat. They have professionals that can help care for the bat.

Buy insects or worms from your local pet store and slide them into the box to feed the brown bat. Only do this if the rehabilitator doesn't come right away. A brown bat can eat 50 percent of its weight in insects. You can also place a bottle cap of water into the box so the bat can hydrate himself.

Hand over the box to the rehabilitator and know that you have done all you can to take care of the bat.