How to Get a Bat Out of Your House (and Prevent a Return Visit) (2023)



If a bat accidentally enters your home, don’t panic! You can help get it out yourself.


Angela Nelson

How to Get a Bat Out of Your House (and Prevent a Return Visit) (1)

Angela Nelson


  • Boston University

Angela Nelson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning digital editor and storyteller who covered a variety of general interest stories on MNN (now part of Treehugger) from 2014-2019.

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Updated November 7, 2022

If a bat has found its way into your home, it can make for a surprising and unwelcome house guest. Luckily, there are ways to remove a bat from your house safely and humanely. You can do it yourself, but it's important to stay calm and make sure you have the right protective gear. Here is a step-by-step guide to get a bat out of the house, and to prevent another bat from finding its way inside again.

How to Get a Bat Out of the House

How to Get a Bat Out of Your House (and Prevent a Return Visit) (2)

Since most bats are accidental visitors, it's often easier to coax them back outside than you might think. This is a better strategy than waiting for it to leave on its own; once sighted, you don't want to lose track of the bat, so make sure you stay on it till it's gone.

It's not recommended to sleep with a bat in the same room, as it is a wild animal and there's always a chance of it biting you. If you cannot get it out before bedtime, ensure that you close the door to your bedroom so the bat cannot enter. Remember to keep an eye out for it if you get up in the night.

Clear the Room

Start by removing any children, pets, or other family members from the room to keep them safe and to minimize distractions. Bats, like people, can get flustered and stressed in loud and confusing situations. Close all interior doors that could lead the bat farther into the house.

Encourage an Exit

When the room is clear and quiet, make it as easy as possible for the bat to fly outside on its own. Provide an escape route, and it will likely take it. Open any windows or doors leading outside as wide as possible. Turn off any outside lights near the exits. Dimming the lights inside can calm the bat down as well, but don't turn them off if it will cause you to lose sight of the bat.

The Humane Society explains that bats fly in U-shaped patterns, staying higher near the walls and dipping lower in the middle of a room, so stay close to the walls. Wait quietly for the bat to find its way back outside, which will likely happen within a few minutes.

If you think the bat has made its exit, double-check in high spaces, such as in curtain folds or behind wall decorations. If a bat is injured, it might be hiding near the ground as well. If a bat is sitting on the ground, you'll likely be able to catch it (more on that below) for release outdoors, since it cannot take off from the ground. This puts you at an advantage.

Catching Stationary Bats

While many bats will find an exit on their own, some bats aren't so lucky. As a bat becomes fatigued, it will often perch on a wall, curtain, or another high place in the room. If the bat has stopped flying and seems unlikely to find a way outside on its own, catching it humanely and moving it outside is the best course of action. To do this, you'll need some supplies:

  • A pair of leather gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants
  • A broom
  • A shoebox or similarly sized plastic container (or a towel)
  • A piece of cardboard or stiff paper

Put on your long-sleeved shirt, pants, and gloves before approaching the bat—you want to cover as much exposed skin as possible to avoid close contact with the bat. Never try to catch a bat with your bare hands.

First, attempt to coax the bat onto the broom by gently placing the handle of the broom above the bat. Often, the bat will instinctively cling to the broom handle, allowing you to navigate it outdoors, where you can set the broom down and allow the bat to leave on its own.

An alternative method is to trap a stationary bat using a cardboard or plastic box. When the bat is still, cover it with the box. Slide the cardboard under it to contain the bat in the box. One final alternative is to cover the bat with a towel. Gently scoop it up and gather the towel into a bag. Release the bat outdoors. Bats cannot take flight from the ground, so tilt the container and let the bat fall into flight or release the bat next to a tree trunk it can climb.


Never try to catch a flying bat. Doing so could injure the bat, or it could bite you in self-defense. Instead, encourage the bat to leave on its own or wait until it lands to catch it.

Call in the Experts

If you have tried the previous steps without success, or don't feel confident approaching the bat yourself, contacting an animal control specialist is always an option. If a bat is difficult to catch or is injured, this is also the safest choice. Experts will be able to remove the bat safely, humanely, and efficiently.

If you have successfully captured the bat but it appears to be injured, contact a local wildlife rehabber for advice. They will tell you how to evaluate the bat and may ask you to bring it in for care.

If anyone in your home has been bitten by the bat, do not release it outside. The bite victim should seek immediate medical attention, and the bat should be tested for rabies, even though most bats do not carry the disease. Call your local animal control office for more information. Bats have very tiny, sharp teeth; you may not even realize that you've been bitten.

Preventing Future Bats in the House

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Once the bat is out of your house, it's worth considering how it got inside in the first place. Most of the time, bats end up in your home accidentally. They may chase an insect through an open window, or they may get confused while finding their way in the dark. If one is resting on the outside of your house and gets startled, the bat may dart in through an opening leading indoors. Bats can also fall down chimneys without a cap screen at the top.

Here are some simple steps to take to bat-proof your house:

  • Use caulk to fill in any openings larger than a quarter inch by half inch.
  • Install window screens, chimney cap guards, and draft guards beneath doors.
  • Ensure all doors close tightly, especially in the attic.
  • Use plastic sheeting or mesh to cover outdoor entry points. These allow bats to exit but prevent re-entry.

Evicting a Roost

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Some species of bats, such as the little brown bat and big brown bat, tend to roost in houses. They can enter through loose-fitting doors, windows, and utility vents, or other small openings or narrow gaps high up on your home. They can fit through holes as small as half an inch wide.

The time of year can dictate whether it's appropriate to remove bats. Some bats are protected species, so many states prohibit evicting them from May to August, when they are raising their young. Contact your state wildlife agency to see when it's safe to evict a roost from your home.

Purchasing or building a bat box for your yard is one way to support bat populations while also encouraging them not to roost in your house. Bat houses have specific design criteria, like an open bottom and narrow living quarters, but they are easy to make yourself with basic tools. If you choose to buy one, make sure it is at least 24 inches tall and 16 inches wide, and constructed of wood, not fabric or mesh.

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