Skip to main content
San Diego Humane Society

Bats: Coexist with Wildlife

In San Diego County, we are lucky enough to have 23 different species of bats. These nocturnal animals are actually extremely beneficial to our environment. In fact, almost every bat found in this area eats insects, a huge value to our thriving agricultural industry. To hunt their prey in the dark, bats rely on both eyesight and echolocation. Bats send out a series of beeps that bounce off objects, and the sound waves returning to their ears produce a kind of visual image.

Bats are the only mammal capable of true flight and are the world's primary predators of flying insects, eating as many as 1,000 mosquito sized bugs per hour. Some others are vital for pollination and seed dispersal. Bats are the number one rabies vector in our area and so it’s important to never touch a bat with your bare hands.

If a bat is taking up residence near your house or business, it will likely be there temporarily and leave after dark. If the bat returns to the same undesired spot every night, it can be deterred by pointing a fan at the spot. However, his technique should never be used during "baby season," which is during spring and summer months.

If a bat is in your house, close all doors and windows. Open just one door to the outside with a light to allow the bat to fly out.

Bat on the ground. Any bat on the ground can be assumed to be hurt or sick and should always be brought to the Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center. If the bat has come into contact with a pet or human, animal control or SDHS Dispatch must always be contacted. If a human came into contact, the person's physician needs to be notified as well.

If you've found an injured animal and need information on where to take it, please call: (619) 299-7012

Things to Remember if you encounter a bat:

  • Bats are the number one rabies vector in our area and can NEVER be handled with bare hands.
  • The most common problem we hear about bats are that they are in buildings, houses, attics or on the side of buildings with feces accumulating in these areas. We also sometimes hear about bats on the side of the building or other unusual place. It may have ended up at a bad spot that day and will probably leave after dark and not return.
  • If the bat returns to the same undesired spot every night, it can be deterred by pointing a fan at the spot however, his technique should never be used during "baby season".
  • If you encounter a bat flying around the house, close all other doors and windows while opening one door to the outside with a light and allow it to fly out.
  • If it doesn't fly out, it will tire in about 15 minutes when it can be scooped up and let outside. It should be released at night.
  • NEVER touch the animal without gloves. Always use gloves or put something like a container over the animal and contact SDHS dispatch or animal control in unincorporated regions.
  • If the bat has come into contact with a pet or human, animal control or SDHS Dispatch must always be contacted. If a human came into contact with a bat, the person should contact their physician as well.
  • If the bat has been caught by a dog or cat these are rabies vectors so be sure your animals are current on their rabies vaccinations. 
  • Was this article helpful?