Bat Guano On Television
Most of us have heard about bat guano through the Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls movie. Ace, the best pet detective around, finds himself in the wilds of Africa looking for the holy, giant white bat. As he gets to know the locals he begins to admire their plate ware, all until his English guide tells him that it’s made of bat guano, a.k.a. bat droppings. However bat guano in real life from bats inside of an attic are no laughing matter.
Is bat guano dangerous?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it definitely can be. Bats are known for their ability to spread rabies, but they can spread many other diseases through their guano alone. Bat guano has been known to contaminate soil, causing infectious spores and fungi to grow and be released when disturbed. Defecation normally happens before they enter a cave or building and as the guano begins to accumulate undisturbed, is when these spores begin to form. This is why professional bat removal is necessary to get rid of bats and clean up the bat droppings that are left behind.
Histoplasmosis is a type of spore that can be breathed in from contaminated soils, especially found in places that have large populations of bats. This disease is not normally fatal but can certainly lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Although rabies and Histoplasmosis can be found around the world, there are some diseases that can be isolated to regions, such as the Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever from fruit bats in Uganda, and as the Nipah and Hendra viruses are associated with “Flying Foxes” in Australia. Rabies vaccines are effective against most of these viruses, however several Lyssaviruses identified in Africa and Asia cannot be prevented with current rabies vaccinations.
Along with diseases, bat guano can also attract parasites. Soft ticks, biting lice, and the bat bug (which is related to the bed bug) are some of the parasites that are found along with building roosted bats. Guano can breed insects as well, such as flies and carpet beetles, that can become a problem in immediate areas.
Bat Guano Removal Around Homes
If it’s a small amount of droppings, you can do it yourself. Make sure to be wearing gloves (plastic cleaning gloves), a mouth mask that covers your nose, and safety glasses or goggles. Spray the area with a bleach and water mixture ( ratio: water 9 bleach 1) to prevent aerosolizing any droppings during removal. Remove with a shovel and plastic bag. Place the plastic bag in a trash container with a lid. Once the bag of droppings is disposed of, scrub the original area with the water/bleach mixture and rinse thoroughly. Dispose of the gloves in another plastic bag.
After bats have been removed it is imperative that the home is bat proofed to prevent future bat entry.
Note* It is ALWAYS best to call a professional to remove bat guano
So, is bat guano dangerous? Yes, but there are ways to keep yourself, your family and pets safe. Remember, bats are healthy for the natural system, but their guano can be harmful if you’re unawares. The CDC suggests staying alert in areas that are known to have large habitations of bats, such as caves, tall trees, and some buildings.