Health Dept. Warns About Rabid Bat Found in Long Beach

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protect your family from rabid bats

Bats looking for protection from the cold are increasingly active throughout Southern California.

A dead bat which tested positive for rabies was found recently in the downtown area of Long Beach and the Health Department is warning everyone not to handle bats and other wildlife. Bats have displayed increased activity lately in an attempt to find refuge from the cold weather.

It is critical that no one attempt to pick up or capture a bat (or any other wild animal), regardless of whether it is dead or alive. If a bat is found, Animal Care Services (ACS) officials should be called immediately to remove it and to prevent exposure to disease. 

Rabies is a virus that causes a severe brain infection in mammals and humans that is nearly 100% fatal once symptoms appear. Infection, however, can be effectively prevented with prompt medical treatment. Any mammal can be infected with rabies; in California, the disease is most commonly found in bats, skunks, and foxes. Humans can become infected through bites from an infected animal, or through contact with the saliva of an infected animal.

Signs of rabies in bats include:

  • activity during the daytime (bats are usually active only at night),
  • being present in a place not usually seen (such as a home, playground, or anywhere on the ground),
  • and an inability to fly.

Direct contact with any bat should be avoided, and if a bat displaying the above behavior is found, notify Animal Care Services at (562) 570-7387 to retrieve the animal for testing. If a bat is found in your home, place a box or container over it and notify Animal Care Services immediately. In situations in which a bat is physically present and you cannot reasonably rule out having been bitten or exposed (bat bites can go undetected because their teeth are very small and do not leave easily recognizable wounds), seek medical attention immediately.

Tips to Avoid Bats with Rabies

The Health Department is providing additional tips to prevent risk of exposure to rabies:

  1. Do not handle or attempt to “rescue” a sick bat or other wildlife. Contact Long Beach Animal Care Services immediately.
  2. Teach children to never touch unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly;
  3. Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water; seek medical attention immediately;
  4. Prevent bats from entering homes, schools, churches and other similar areas where they might contact people and pets. For advice on “bat-proofing” your home, contact Animal Care Services at the above telephone number;
  5. Be a responsible pet owner by keeping rabies vaccinations current for all pets (both cats and dogs); unvaccinated pets that come into contact with a bat may need to be euthanized or quarantined for up to six months; and,
  6. Contact Animal Care Services about any sick or injured stray animal or for information on controlling nuisance wildlife.

For more information on bats and rabies, call Long Beach Animal Care Services at 562-570-7387 or visit

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