A woman from Kansas was cited for keeping exotic pets within city limits after her son was bitten by one of the family’s pet bats. The bats were confiscated and will be tested for rabies.

Some animals make good pets, some are mediocre and some are completely inappropriate. Bats are in the last category. Bats are the main vector for rabies virus in North America and they do not have to look sick to be carrying rabies. Bats can bite when being handled and bites are often very small, so they are not always taken care of or even noticed. A person not reporting a seemingly harmless bat bite is a common history in human rabies cases.

Even if rabies didn’t exist, keeping pet bats would still be a bad idea.  Bats are very difficult to care for  properly, and rarely survive for long in captivity, except in well-run zoos with excellent facilities and very knowledgeable caretakers. 

More information on rabies is available on our Resources page.