Bats are really unique mammals found all over Australia; they need to be treated with care and respect. Bats play a vital role in our ecosystem. All Australian bats are protected in Australia.
Bats are the only mammals with wings and are truly able to fly powerfully. This unique characteristic enables bats to have a wide distribution and diverse feeding and roosting habits.
Bats vary in size from large flying foxes (1kg body weight and 1.5m wing span) to small insectivorous bats that weigh 3g and can fit into a matchbox.
Bats are nocturnal and hide in dark places during the daylight hours, limiting contact with humans.
Increased urbanisation and development brings humans closer to wildlife and increases interactions between people and bats.
All bats are vulnerable to roost disturbance and habitat destruction. Thirteen bat species are listed threatened under the conservation legislation.
Several viruses unique to Australia occur in the bat population. Some of these are transmitted to humans and pets by scratches and bites from bats. Even skin pricks from dead bats or contact with bat saliva can spread viruses.
Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) is a virus in the same family as rabies virus.
If you or your pet is exposed to a bat you should contact a health professional for yourself and a vet for your pet.
The bat is submitted for laboratory testing to see if it is carrying ABLV. (Dead bats need to handled cautiously to avoid infections). Never handle sick or injured bats unless you have been vaccinated against rabies virus, trained to handle bats and are using appropriate personal protective equipment.
Exposed pets are treated with a rabies vaccination to protect against ABLV and monitored for clinical signs of the virus.
For more information on ABLV go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/bats-and-health-risks.