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  • Phoenix Educational Article of the Month - Do all bats carry rabies?

Do all bats carry rabies?

Do all bats carry rabies?

Bats are surrounded by an air of mystery and mythos around the world. Is it a bird? A flying rat? Will it suck my blood? Are they blind? Do they have magical powers? Do they carry rabies? When it comes to what most people think they know about Arizona bats, it is most often not true.

They aren’t t rodents or birds, they are, in fact, warm blooded mammals just like you and I. They will not suck your blood; an adult vampire bat eats about a tablespoon of blood per meal and prefers horses or pigs and the occasional Phoenix cat or dog to you. It does not suck the blood, but laps up blood oozing from a small hole made by its teeth.

They are not blind. They can see as well as you do, in fact, some even see in color! And while their sonar is pretty amazing, it is pure science, not magic. Most importantly, the majority of Phoenix bat s DO NOT carries rabies. Since bats are mammals, they can develop rabies, and a myriad of other diseases which can be transmitted to humans and other mammals, but most do not normally have the disease. In fact, Arizona bats are less likely to have rabies than most other wild creatures.

Rabies is only found in the nervous system and saliva of an infected animal. Not in the blood or bodily waste. Popular belief used to be that Phoenix bats contracted rabies when they fed. This is not true. So how does a bat get rabies? If a bat is attacked by an infected predator such as a dog or cat and escapes, it can be infected by the attacker’s saliva left in the bite. That Arizona bat can then infect other animals through its saliva when it bites them to feed. Bats spread the disease amongst themselves through air born spit droplets from a sneeze (yes, bats sneeze). In addition, bats have been found to be reservoirs of Lyssaviruses . This is the group of viruses that causes rabies and other potentially dangerous diseases. Strains of these viruses have been found in bat colonies all over the world.

As we said earlier, all species of Phoenix mammals can contract the rabies virus; but only a few, like bats, are reservoirs for the disease. It is impossible to tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it, this can only be confirmed by euthanizing the animal and having it tested in a laboratory. To be on the safe side, never handle a bat. .

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