The City of Wichita Falls Animal Services is encouraging citizens to be aware of the risks associated with bats in the area after one such animal has tested positive for rabies. Last week two bats were picked up within city limits with one of them testing positive for the disease. The disease is fatal and most commonly spread through bats, so recognizing the symptoms is essential to both your family and your pets.

The City of Wichita Falls sent out a press release stating that healthy bats aren’t aggressive but infected bats may have difficulty flying or may be seen flying during daytime hours. The warn, however, that even infected bats may appear normal.

They also warn that bats should NEVER be handled with bare hands. Contact animal control if you feel you’ve encountered an infected bat, and if you’re bitten by one seek medical attention immediately. If you must handle a bat for any reason, use thick leather gloves, a set of tongs or shovel, and place the animal in a securely covered container.

In addition, protect your pets by ensuring they are up-to-date with their rabies vaccination.

Mayoclinic.com lists the following as symptoms of rabies:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Partial paralysis

You may contact Animal Control at 940-761-7824 to report a suspicious bat or to get more information.