Separating Fact from Fiction about Bats

Bats often catch a bad rap. And when a homeowner finds one in their home an immediate reaction is often to grab a tennis racquet and charge.

There are many myths and unanswered questions when it comes to bats, which lead to an under-appreciation and fear of them. So here at Critter Control, we want to help you separate fact from fiction.

  • Bats are not rodents. They are the only flying mammal and are unable to walk. If bats need to move without flying they drag themselves with their wings.
  • There are only thirteen species of bats in Nebraska and most are uncommon and rarely found near or in structures.
  • Bats consume one-quarter to one-half of their body weight in insects each night and do not chew on wood, caulk or other structural material. The average bat colony of big brown bats – found across the entire state of Nebraska – can consume over 100 tons of insects in just one season.
  • Bats are great for the garden. The ability to consume massive amounts of insects effectively reduces corn rootworm moths and therefore reduces the need for agricultural insecticides, according to several recent studies.
  • At the end of summer, most species of bats mate in flight and have only one to two young per year. The young usually learn to fly within three to five weeks and often find themselves landing in homes to take up residence.
  • A very small percentage of bats carry rabies and histoplasmosis.

To know if these little critters are living in your home, look for small droppings or smudges of oil and dirt from bat's fur near openings and cracks (potential entry points) and listen for squeaking and scratching.

For bat removal, it is never good to go for your tennis racquet. A professional service is important for bat removal for the safety of both the animal and you. If there is even a slight possibility you may have come in contact with the bat you should have the bat captured and checked for rabies. 

So while bats can carry diseases and should not be living in homes, their presence is vitally important for the environment, can offer benefits to your garden and are rarely dangerous.