Is It Illegal to Kill Bats in Michigan?
Are bats invading your Michigan home? Don't let them drive you...batty (sorry not sorry). With the right techniques, you can safely and humanely remove them without breaking any laws.
Bats are a Protected Species in Michigan
First things first, let's talk about why bats are protected in the state of Michigan. Some would argue we should protect them because they are "cute, cuddly, and fuzzy", but the real reason is they play a crucial role in the Mitten States ecosystem. Some Michigan bats can consume as many as 600 insects in an hour! On top of keeping the insect population down, bats pollinate plants and even disperse seeds like some kind of hairy, flying Johny Appleseed.
What are Michigan's Laws Regarding Harming Bats?
Bat in your house? Why not grab your handy dandy bat tool and take care of business? Absolutely not! According to the Michigan DNR a person who violates Michigan's Protected Species law could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by "imprisonment for not more than 90 days" and or a fine of up to $1,000 but no less than $100.
Should I Be Concerned if I Have Bats in My Home?
Bats are the leading cause of rabies deaths in people in the United States. People and domestic animals should avoid contact with bats. Bats should never be kept as pets.
Rabies can spread to people from bats after minor, seemingly unimportant, or unrecognized bites or scratches. Rabies postexposure prophylaxis (or PEP, which includes vaccination) is recommended for any person with a bite or scratch from a bat, unless the bat is available for testing and tests negative for rabies.
How do I Humanely Remove a Bat From My House?
This will require some planning and observation, but here is the 'humane' way to remove a bat from your home according to the Humane Society:
Wear thick work gloves—but not cotton, as most bats can easily bite through cotton. If gloves are not available, you can capture a bat in a rolled-up T-shirt or something of similar material. Make sure there is enough thickness to the material used so you will not be bitten. (Don't use a towel, as the bat’s claws might get snagged in its loops.)
Bats will most likely land somewhere they can hang—behind curtains or upholstered furniture, on hanging clothes or in house plants. Carefully place a plastic tub or similar container over them. Gently work a piece of cardboard or stiff paper under the container, trapping the bat inside. Now you are ready to release the bat outdoors.
Because most bats cannot take flight from the ground, tilt the container or allow the bat to climb a tree trunk or other vertical surface.
If bats are invading your Michigan home, don't panic. Use humane removal techniques such as exclusion and consider hiring a professional removal company for the best results. Remember, bats are protected for a reason and are vital to our Great Lakes state ecosystem.
Or, just burn the place down and start over. It's up to you.