MANHATTAN, Kans. (KSVN) -- This is the time of year that bats are most active.
While the winged mammals may seem like a nuisance at most, Two states, Illinois and New Jersey, have both discovered bats with rabies.
As a matter of fact, the winged creatures are the leading cause of rabies in humans -- although these cases are very rare.
And if a pet or human comes in contact with a bat, it can be hard to tell whether or not their at risk for rabies.
"Bats leave very small punctures so sometimes it can be hard to tell if you’ve been bitten or not," Kansas State University veterinarian Susan Nelson said.
Nelson offered the following steps for people to protect themselves and their pets:
- If a bat is found in the house, it's best to get them removed by a pest company. Avoid any and all contact with the bat.
- Check for signs that bats may be in the home. Look for holes that are a quarter to one-half inch large. Also be on the lookout for bat dung, which may be on windowsills or the ground.
- For human bat bites, get immediately doctor assistance. For animal or pet bat bites, get help from a veterinarian.
- Make sure pets are properly vaccinated, even those that spend most of their time indoors.
"Unfortunately a lot of cats aren’t vaccinated for rabies because people feel they don’t need it if they live inside," Nelson said. "Well, there’s definitely a need for vaccinating these cats, but if you find one of your pets trying to capture or has contact with one of these bats, that’s another reason to capture the bat and have it tested for rabies."
Find out where to send the bat for testing by contacting a veterinarian or doctor.