HUDSONVILLE, Mich. Thanks to the warmer weather it seems like we're all coming out of hibernation - bats included. And there are steps you should take if they come into your home.
One Hudsonville couple knows all too well after recently having a close call with a bat in their home.
Now they're sharing their story to help others stay safe.
As part of the U.S. Army, David DeAvila has served in two wars.
"Even a veteran is afraid of vampires," DeAvila said. "I ran inside number one because I didn't want it to jump out and attack me but then number two I needed to film this."
He took a video of the bat outside his Hudsonville home.
"I was out here sweeping and then what I thought was a leaf was right under here, and as I reached down," he said. "I realized it's a bat again."
This wasn't their first encounter.
"It wanted to come back home," DeAvila said.
It had been there a few days before.
"I was sitting here watching TV, my wife was sitting over on the sofa watching TV and our dog was looking into the fireplace," DeAvila said. "I could hear something fluttering, and then all of a sudden, I see what looks like a little snout from underneath the grate."
He found out what it was minutes later when the bat came flying out of the fireplace.
"My wife and I are in a state of panic, she's running, I said get some brooms," DeAvila said. "With the broom as its flying around, was able to coax it. I grabbed the bat and brought it down to the ground and held it with the broom. We actually literally took a glass cup and covered it and then brought it outside."
The Kent County Health Department said bats are only dangerous if there's a chance someone was bitten and they don't know because they were asleep, mentally handicapped, intoxicated or if a young child was left alone.
"That's when we want to get involved, make sure that those bats get captured and then they get tested at the local health department," said Brian Hartl, the Kent County Health Department epidemiologist.
Otherwise you are advised to undergo a series of shots anytime there is high risk exposure.
"If we don't have the bat and can't test if for rabies, we recommend post exposure treatment with rabies vaccination, so it's a total of 5 shots," Hartl said.
Although in the U.S. it's rare for someone to die from rabies, Hartl said it's a highly fatal disease.
But if you see one of the creatures outside, there's no cause for concern.
"I think overall bats aren't dangerous at all, they're creatures that benefit the environment, they control mosquitoes and they have all sorts of benefits," Hartl said. "Prevalence of rabies in bats is fairly low."
Since bats belong outdoors, DeAvila is taking steps to keep it that way.
DeAvila said he and his wife are having a cap put on their chimney.
If a bat does get into your home, the health department said you should put on leather gloves, wait for it to land, capture it with a container and slide a piece of cardboard underneath to trap the bat inside.
You can also call your local pest control company.
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