Bat Safety

Bat Safety

Be Bat Aware

Bats play a vital role in our ecosystem, by helping to maintain healthy environments for other animals and people. Bats also rely on healthy environments and deserve our appreciation and protection. Grand Teton National Park is home to six species of bats which help in naturally controlling local insect populations.

While not common, living and vacationing in Grand Teton National Park can provide opportunities for human-bat contact and exposure. It is recommended that all lodging visitors and staff minimize the time entrance doors are opening during dusk and night hours to help prevent bats from accessing park structures and especially sleeping areas. While bats provide benefits to our ecosystem, they can also pose a health risk to humans through transmission of rabies.

Less than 1% of bats in nature have rabies but are a concern because their bites are so small that they may not be noticeable. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that post-exposure treatment be considered for the following situations:

  • Waking up in a room in which a bat is present.
  • An adult witnesses a bat in a room with previously unattended child, disabled persons, or intoxicated individuals.
  • Physical contact with or handling a bat even if bite marks are not seen.

The National Park Services provides the following recommendations for staff or visitors who have encountered these situations:

  • COLLECT that bat safely to be tested for rabies; do not let it go. Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt. Trap the bat in a container. Ask for help from park staff.
  • Immediately CONTACT a park ranger or concessions staff member.
  • CLEAN the contacted area of skin with soap and water, even if you do not see a wound.
  • CONSULT with healthcare provider. Remember: Rabies is 100% preventable with proper medical care.

Teton County Public Health recommends that anyone who experiences one of these situations or direct contact with a bat immediately contact their healthcare provider or Teton County Public Health at (307) 733-6401 for help and further information. Any bat that comes in contact with a person should be carefully captured, if possible, so that rabies testing may occur. It is also important to put the captured or dead bat in the refrigerator to preserve the specimen until it can be dropped off. Do not put the specimen in the freezer as this may also render the brain tissue unsuitable for testing.