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#485096 01/09/18 07:56 PM
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I'm not really sure if this is the right place to post this question. I had a hard time even finding a forum to post on. We live in Southeastern Nebraska in a suburban setting, two level home built in '05. New roof put on last year. Siding was damaged at the same time as the roof but has not been fixed yet.

For the past two days we have been hearing scratching/tapping/gnawing/thumping sounds throughout one section of our bathroom/bedroom wall. At times it is very rhythmic, like a chewing. Whatever this thing is, it’s relatively loud. I read online that although you can hear bats sometimes it’s a very light discreet scratching and maybe squeaking. This is definitely scratching but some thumping and tapping, and though it’s not really loud, the room has to be somewhat quiet to hear it, it’s definitely not discreet. I realize that being in the wall can amplify the sounds, and from the research I've done I'm almost certain it's no bigger than a squirrel at the very largest. But it's definitely either leaving and coming back, or nocturnal. It is active the same 5 foot or so radius from about 6:00pm to about 4:00am.

Asking on social media tonight for referrals to get a second opinion, I had several people warn me against using the company I had out today, that they didn’t know what they were doing and we should go with someone else. They were only here for about a half hour. They entered the attic above the garage (we store things there) but only got their body about halfway up into the attic space under the roof above the second floor. They saw a total of 10 or so bat droppings in the attic above the house, and the same in the attic above the garage. They saw mouse droppings in the access area under the tub, near where the noises are coming from. He seemed think we definitely had a bat problem based on the droppings and probably didn't have a mouse problem. Said set a few traps under the tub and then quoted me $2500 to seal all but two entries for the bats until spring, put the one way exits on those two entrances, and come back in the spring and seal those. He assured me he did not think we had a large colony or infestation.
[video:youtube]https://youtu.be/uWJdDQ1DyFs[/video]
We have called in two more companies to do inspections tomorrow. One I talked to scared me to death with talk of the bat getting in the house and biting us when we are sleeping, and us not knowing. I have heard they can bite and you don't know it, but I guess I figured you would eventually wake up because a bat was flying around. I am now terrified to be in our house at all, worried we will just all of a sudden come down with rabies from a bite from a bat we never saw or suspected.

I'm looking for a little perspective before meeting with the other two companies tomorrow. Again, we have not seen a bat in the living space in our house. Just heard the noises, and the reports of the really small sporadic amount of guano in both attics.

I'm posting video of the noses from youtube. Hope it works.
[video:youtube]https://youtu.be/uPzBvW39BEU[/video]

[video:youtube]https://youtu.be/uWJdDQ1DyFs[/video]

Thanks to whoever takes the time to read and answer!!

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Hey Jordan,

Welcome to PBF! Wild life management is a topic covered here on the forum so IMO your post is appropriate here.

My limited understanding of bat behavior is that they either migrate or hibernate during the winter and it is rare, but not unheard of, for them to be active in Nebraska this time of year.

As luck would have it, Pond Boss has a bird expert, Mel Toellner, and he published an article on bats in the most recent issue of Pond Boss Magazine! I'm sure he can give you a much better answer. You can send him an e-mail at mel@birdmanmel.com.

Good Luck and please post back and let us know how it all turns out.

Bill D.

Last edited by Bill D.; 01/09/18 08:31 PM.

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Jordan, welcome.
Two houses I've lived in out here in the west, one in Idaho, the other in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, had critters that "went thump in the night" and scratched, etc. as you are describing. In both cases it turned out we had pack rats, also known as woodrats, living with us. The bushy-tailed wood rats were particularly cute, endearing, almost charming little creatures. I imagine one of the several species of woodrats live where you do.
Friends of mine here in Colorado have successfully trapped out their woodrats using standard Victor rat traps.
A couple of observations of mine are that bats are not something to be feared. They are, in most cases, extremely beneficial as neighbors. Bill D speaks with accuracy to their winter migrating and to their winter torpor.
The other observation is that I'd plug up the bat access holes myself and build some bat houses so they could live outside, rather than pay someone $2500.
Please let us know what you decide and what how you handle the issue.

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Thank you for the replies! I wouldn’t say I fear bats themselves, I wasn’t really afraid until he started talking about all the rabies precautions. We’ve just never dealt with something like this and I want to make smart decisions instead of “worried mom” decisions as my husband calls them. I’m sure I’ll know more after the two other companies come tomorrow. We wouldn’t have the first clue how to begin doing it ourselves so we are willing to pay experts. But the first people who came out (big nationally known company) wouldn’t even consider it being anything other than bats, wouldn’t discuss setting other traps in case it was something else even though where it is scratching is near an outlet and obviously wiring, and said we just needed to pay them the money to take care of the bats.

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Sounds like a problem that rat poison will take care of, but be sure that it is placed where domestic animals cannot get at it. The downside is that mice often die in the walls and smell for a bit. We had mice getting into the walls before getting cats. My biggest worry is gnawing on electric wire insulation. If it is bats, then rat poison will not work, but unless someone actually sees the bats or guano, I do not understand why they think it is bats. Our mice were getting in through the attic and that is where we put the rat poison. I would cancel the meeting with the company that told you bats will bite you while you are sleeping. There are no vampire bats where you live. They are either incompetent or purposefully deceptive. Bats will bite if you trap or handle them, and as with any animal, will sometimes be aggressive if rabid. If you place rat poison in the attic, you can check it in a day or so to see if mice have been feeding on it. If so, then your problem is likely solved, but you will need to replenish the rat poison periodically. Mice can enter through very small holes, so it is often very difficult to completely exclude them.

Last edited by RAH; 01/10/18 08:26 AM.
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Jordan, the only thing I would add to using poison is that if you have house pets and they eat a mouse or rat killed by the poison, it can kill your pet. I lost two large dogs years ago this way.

Good luck!


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Last edited by RAH; 01/10/18 09:27 AM.
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It's definitely bats, had two more companies come out, both locally owned actual wildlife companies. They will do bat exclusion when warmer and have tried to reassure me about them getting inside the house from the attic. I'm not that reassured though.

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Jordan, I feel for you, we dealt with this last year. Had a bat in the garage and it was about 28 degrees outside, had to come from the attic. We paid a company to come in and do the exclusion, cost right around $1,000 from start to finish. Had a very small colony, as we caught it right away, and the technician identified 2 species of bats. They sealed the house in mid-January and put a tube in the entrance/exit until April and then sealed up the final entrance.

Never had any problems with them getting in the house. Drew, the bat guy, said if the temp slightly warms they may go in search of water or they might climb deeper into the wall if the temps get colder. If a bat happened to get in the house generally they will not bite. If the bat happens to make it into the bed covers, which is not likely, they may bite as you role around. The only case where he had ever heard of a person being bit was in a basement where a bat had gotten into a pile of clothes and a gentleman received a bite when he picked up the pile. He had completed hundreds of bat exclusions and said rarely did he find bats inside the main living area, especially during winter.

Like you, I was initially worried about them gaining access to the house. I have 4 kids and the last thing I need is a bat in the house but never had any issues. It was a very uneventful process and the wildlife company was great. Good luck and I wouldn't worry too much.

Notes: I am in Ohio, so take the information based on location. Second, we didn't tell the kids until after they closed the final hole, I like my sleep.



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We had a lot of bats in the attic of our first house which was 200 years old and had clapboard over posts on the gable ends of the attic. The bats loved to sleep between the clapboards. We lined the inside of the clapboards with bird netting stapled tightly to the inside on the gable ends and shoveled and hauled out a lot of guano wearing dust masks. The bats never got in the attic again but continued to use the clapboards (and shutters) as resting sites (win/win).

Apparently bats make piles of poo which distinguishes them from most rodent interlopers.

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Jordon, my daughter and 2 grands came home for a couple months and swore they heard a squirrel or other varmint in the attic. I never heard it myself while they were back. The other day, I was in that room and a closet when I heard a light squeaking and scratching, like my daughter had described....I quietly entered the attic, bat and net in hand....the "varmint" wound up being a lightly turning wind turbine on the roof that is only heard when it is VERY quiet and a light breeze is going...



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If anyone does get bit or scratched by a bat (or other wild animal acting strangely), don't wait to visit a doctor. Once rabies symptoms appear, it is too late. I personally take out any wildlife acting odd and do not handle the carcass. An unafraid coyote last summer was the most recent incident. Fortunately my dogs did not see it first, and I was able to confine them while dispatching the animal.

http://time.com/5103397/florida-boy-bat-scratch-rabies/

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Originally Posted By: RAH
If anyone does get bit or scratched by a bat (or other wild animal acting strangely), don't wait to visit a doctor. Once rabies symptoms appear, it is too late. I personally take out any wildlife acting odd and do not handle the carcass. An unafraid coyote last summer was the most recent incident. Fortunately my dogs did not see it first, and I was able to confine them while dispatching the animal.

http://time.com/5103397/florida-boy-bat-scratch-rabies/


We have run into more distemper around Ontario more then rabies as of late. Many raccoons with this fever walking in circles.

If you had a warm spell then a cold snap I would say mice. If the other way around that it was cold then a warm snap/sun on side of house you hear the noise I would say bats.

Bats can't take off from the ground. They need to drop first. If you place a net under their opening they will drop right in but you will need for it to warm up.

Cheers Don.

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How do you tell the difference between rabies and distemper from a distance:)

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With distemper the animal will be all sweaty like in the picture. It will not be aggressive. With rabies they will be very aggressive and want to attack.

Distemper is like a very high fever. If its really far along you will see them walking in circles in the field all day long in the same spot just slowly moving in one direction. If you can get a good look at them with binoculars distemper will have their eyes gooped shut or close to it with gross snot. If early with distemper they will want to lay in water.

Rabies they will not be walking in circles. They will still seam not to really know what they are doing and will pick a fight with even a stick or rock. It is a fever as well but will not effect their balance like distemper will.

Cheers Don.

P.S. when skinning any wild animal if the fat is bright red and not white or yellowish stop right away. Get it tested and hope you do not have any nicks on your hands.


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Thanks for the info. Still think that I'll shoot first and ask questions later:) I am guessing most of my cases were distemper based on your description. Glad that my dogs have shots for both.

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Hey Jordan, kinda late to the party here... but be careful with bat traps,

Last edited by ewest; 02/28/24 03:11 PM.

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