Improving rabies awareness and preventing human exposure to rabid bats is a public health priority. At the same time, conservation of bats and the benefits they provide is also important.
Bats take flight every evening throughout Idaho (except when hibernating) to work Mother Nature’s night shift-- controlling crop pests, munching on mosquitoes, and even slaying a few scorpions.
Learn more about the world’s only flying mammals by taking WILD About Bats, one of the newest workshops to join the Project WILD family. This workshop will be held July 19 and July 20 at the Pocatello Fish and Game office.
Health Issues Which May Affect This Animal
What Causes This Disease?Rabies is caused by a Lyssavirus of the Rhabdoviridae family.
Where Is The Disease Found?Rabies is found in all parts of North America and the rest of the world in many species of carnivores including domestic dogs, domestic cats, red foxes, arctic foxes, skunks, and raccoons. In Idaho, the only rabies virus strain present is the bat-associated strain. Because these bat strains can be transferred from bats to other mammals, all mammals with signs of neurological disease should be considered a potential source of rabies. Rabid animals, primarily bats, have been detected in almost every county in Idaho with between 10-20 cases per year.
Signs of DiseaseRabid animals typically behave abnormally and may show daytime activity in a nocturnal species such as a bat, loss of fear of humans, or unprovoked aggression. They may have a dropped jaw and appear to be foaming at the mouth. Rabid animals may also appear weak or paralyzed (dumb rabies) or may appear agitated and excited or paralyzed and frightened (furious rabies). Sometimes, rabid animals do not show any signs of illness before death from rabies. Most bats affected by rabies are found on the ground, unable to fly, during daylight. But rabies should be considered if bats are encountered in newly opened cabins, or in rooms where people that are sleeping may not have been aware of the bat.
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