What should I do if I find a bat in my room?

Bats usually end up in residential buildings from late spring to autumn


A bat in a bookshelf. By: Tarvo Tiivits
A GUEST. This bat decided to hide in the bookshelf.  By: Tarvo Tiivits


Bats often live close to humans in cities and towns. It is common for them to spend the days in the attics, but some species like cramped conditions, so they squeeze themselves through openings a few centimetres wide, either under lining boards or into some wooden cracks.


It may happen that a bat flies into a room and can no longer find a way out. When it is dark outside, give it a chance to find its way to freedom – open the windows and turn off the lights in the room. It is not worth chasing the bat in the room, as it causes the already frightened animal to panic even more and makes it harder for it to find a way out [1].


If you find a bat in your room during daylight hours, the animal must be caught. Do not attempt to do it bare-handed – a bat can bite in self-defence and you can get a disease from it [2] – but catch the animal with thick gloves. After that, keep them in, for example, a sealed box until dusk and then let them go their way. Bats usually end up in residential buildings from late spring to autumn.


The presence of bats in buildings is usually signalled by squeaking, scratching, and black faeces on the windowsills or on the floor in summer. Bats can also be encountered circling around buildings when twilight arrives.


They can also live in outbuildings, such as old basements, wells, sheds, and barns. The bat species living in Estonia are protected, and if bats settle down with you, they should also be taken into account. They are great at catching insects!


Sometimes a person discovers a bat colony during the renovation of their house – then, the work should be stopped and the animals should be allowed to leave. If you know that bats are living in the wall cracks of an old farm cellar, it should not be renovated while the animals are wintering, i.e. from September to May [3]. This is because if you are too keen, you may accidentally wall in the hibernating bats in the wall cracks.


Bats do not like artificial light at all, and that is why you should always turn off the lights when you leave the basement. For the well-being of the bats, environmentally friendly wood protection products should be used when treating wooden structures.


If you find a bat that seems to need help, contact the state helpline at 1247. Lauri Lutsar (lauri@elfond.ee), the bat expert of the Estonian Fund for Nature, is also waiting for reports about bats.



                                                                                                                                         Last modified: 17.01.2022




[1] http://vana.loodusajakiri.ee/eesti_loodus/artikkel4960_4941.html

[2] https://maaleht.delfi.ee/news/maamajandus/uudised/nahkhiireuurija-soovitus-kui-nahkhiir-tuppa-lendab-pange-enne-tema-puudmist-kindad-katte?id=69547213

[3] http://media.voog.com/0000/0037/1265/files/juhend_majaomanikule_21.11.2016.pdf