2 rabid bats found in Minneapolis in past 5 weeks, officials say

Two rabid bats were found in Minneapolis in the past five weeks, city officials said Monday. 

The first bat was picked up by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control officers on May 23 near the corner of Emerson Avenue South and West 25th Street in the Lowry Hill East neighborhood. 

Arthur Westover told FOX 9 was walking home when he spotted a small, brown bat on the ground. He wanted to remove the bat from the sidewalk and get it to animal control, so he went inside and got a box to put it in. Westover says he used a plastic binder to push the wounded bat into the box, so he wouldn't touch it.

“The first thing it did when I handled it with the binder, was I handed it the binder and it bit on to it was like constantly trying to scramble up at me, but it was super weak, so it couldn’t really do anything,” he said.

Animal control eventually took the bat and had it tested for rabies. When the tests came back positive, Westover started to get nervous since he was exposed, although the bat never bit or scratched him.

“It was a nerve-wracking two or three weeks and obviously I’m doing fine, I’m not super worried about it anymore,” he said.

The second rabid bat was picked up last Wednesday at the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Logan Avenue North in the Harrison neighborhood. 

Rabies is a fatal illness that is transmitted through bites from infected animals. Bats are of particular concern because their teeth are so tiny that a bite may not be felt or even leave a noticeable mark.

Officials are advising Minneapolis residents to take the following precautions: 

  • If a bat is found inside a residence, do not touch it or allow pets to have contact.
  • Do not discard a bat, even if it’s dead. Instead residents should call 311 for assistance from Animal Control officers.
  • Make sure your pets – even indoor pets – are vaccinated against rabies. Bat bites often aren’t detectable, especially on dogs and cats, so an unvaccinated pet could contract rabies without your knowing it.
  • Don’t feed, approach, touch or adopt any wild animals.