Bat Droppings – Are they dangerous?
Bat droppings are very similar to mouse droppings and most people have trouble differentiating them. This adds to their frustration whether they have a bat problem or a rodent problem.
Even though the droppings appear to be similar, bats and mice have very different diets and thus the consistency of their droppings is very different. Mice eat a lot of vegetable material and their
droppings are hard and don’t crumble under pressure. Bats eat insects and their droppings contain tiny bits of insects. Thus bat droppings are sparkly in the sunshine and crumbly when pressured.
Health risks from bats are often exaggerated. Yes there are diseases associated with bats as well as with other mammals and birds.
The most common diseases associated with bats are:
Its symptoms vary greatly, but the disease primarily affects the lungs. Occasionally, other organs are affected. When this happens it can be fatal if untreated.
In addition, Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus that grows in soil and material contaminated with droppings from animals, including bats. Droppings, also known as bat guano, can contaminate the soil and cause infectious spores to be released when the soil is disturbed. The soil under a roost usually has to have been enriched by droppings for two years or more for the disease organism to reach significant levels. Although almost always associated with soil, the fungus has been found in droppings (particularly from bats) alone, such as in an attic.
Infection occurs when spores, carried by the air are inhaled — especially after a roost has been disturbed. Most infections are mild and produce either no symptoms or a minor influenza- like illness. On occasion, the disease can cause high fever, blood abnormalities, pneumonia and even death.
For Histoplasmosis to occur the fungus needs large wet quantities of bat droppings to develop that is why it is uncommon in homes who have a small number of bats (bat droppings are usually scattered)but in any case removal of bat droppings has to be performed from experts with specialized equipment.
Rabies is a dangerous, fatal disease, but less than 1/2 of 1% of all bats may contract the disease. If an injured or ill bat is found in or around a structure, it should be removed. Because most bats will try to bite when handled, they should be picked up with tongs or a shovel. If a bat has bitten or scratched a person or pet or is found in your home, capture the bat without touching it with your hands and without crushing its head. If the bat is dead, refrigerate it (DO NOT freeze) and then contact your local health department immediately for instructions.