Are Bats Scared Of Humans?

No, bats aren’t scared of humans. But they do try to avoid us because we make so much noise.

No, bats aren’t scared of humans. But they do try to avoid us because we make so much noise.

Bats probably live in a house or building that you walk past most days. Bats aren’t scared of humans at all – they just avoid us because we are so noisy!

Are Any Bats Scared Of Humans?

Depending on what you mean by scared of bats – then no. Bats do not actively panic and fly away at the sight of humans or disappear from the area if they think they spotted a human. They will try to avoid humans though if they get too close or if they feel threatened.

Bats are very confident animals and will hunt and feed in areas that are plentiful in food regardless of where it is or who is there. They may be disturbed by humans making a noise in their roost – mainly because they can’t sleep if you are making a noise. You may also scare off feeding bats with noise as you could be scaring off their food too.

Do Bats Attack Humans?

Rare Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri) in flight on church attic with distinctive white belly

Vampire bats are the only bats who actively seek out humans (well, any warm sleeping mammal). They can smell their ‘heat’ through special receptors and can also sense that they are not moving or active at all. Perfect prey for sneaking upon. These bats crawl or run along the ground towards their dinner so that they don’t wake it up with all that flapping about.

So, I suppose a bat creeping up on you while you are asleep to suck your blood could be deemed as ‘attacking’ humans? But it is more like just bad luck that they found a sleeping human rather than a cow or goat instead.

Also, scared or confined bats may panic and end up flapping very close to a human in the same space. Bats that get trapped in homes, barns, or bedrooms can often touch, scratch, or even bite humans out of sheer panic. There is plenty of advice out there on how to make your home safer from stray bats – but if one is found in a confined space – it will be acting erratically and appear to be ‘attacking’ people.

Similarly, a bat found acting strangely outside could be ill and so more likely to be confused. If you approach a sick or confused bat – the same thing could happen. A scared bat could do anything – so best stay clear of all bats anyway (unless you have had training).

Should You Be Scared Of Bats?

Four Pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flying in church tower

Well, you shouldn’t be scared of bats per se – but you should certainly be wary of them – especially if they are in a confined space or you stumble into their roost.

Bats are scary-looking, have sharp teeth, are black and flappy, and hang about in large groups. Enough to scare anyone in the dark! However, as bats aren’t naturally aggressive to humans and will avoid them where they can – you shouldn’t be scared.

In fact, if bats are flying around feeding outside and you suddenly start moving around erratically, flailing your arms and screaming, ironically you could cause them to panic and even bump into you. Just like someone suddenly changing direction when you are walking behind them in a crowd. Bats are carefully planning their route through the sky based on ‘usual’ things – but suddenly an arm shoots up in the air in front of them or a piercing sound hits their senses.

What Happens If A Bat Attacks You?

It is important to note that bats can carry diseases – just like any other wild animal – so if one touches you, you should take precautions.

Thoroughly washing your hands is usually enough, but if there was any chance your skin was broken with a scratch or possible bite, then you need to take more thorough action (see the up-to-date advice for your country/state) to eliminate all possible germs. Always contact your doctor on the phone for advice – as you may need a precautionary rabies vaccine.

Rabies vaccines are only effective if you have the jab BEFORE you get symptoms (usually starting with a tingling at the bite site) so if you or a child may have been attacked by a bat for whatever reason, you need to speak to your doctor urgently.

Although not many bats actually have rabies, bat bites are one of the leading causes of fatalities from rabies in the US at least, because they go under-reported. Do be bat aware.

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