A biologist on TikTok has provided a reminder to nature lovers about what to do when encountering a bat in the wild.
Andrew W. Legan (@insectsevolving) posted a video to the social media platform after finding a brown bat lying in the middle of a bike path.
After calling Wildlife Control, he was advised to move the creature out of the way of potential danger and into the surrounding forest area.
However, in the video captions, Legan said something important for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.
“Do not touch bat with bare hands,” the subtitle read. “I used bark to transport the bat.”
In addition to commenters admiring how cute the tiny beast was, with one amusingly describing it as a “fuzzy sky baby,” other TikTokers noted that the bat likely carries rabies, so touching it with your bare hands is unwise.
“Leave bat business alone or get bit,” one commenter said.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, you could contract rabies from a bat bite. Should such an unfortunate fate occur, you must wash the wound with soap and see a doctor as soon as possible.
If a bat lets a human touch it, it is likely to be sick, so that’s even more reason to avoid contact if possible.
Bats are vital to healthy ecosystems as they play a significant role in pest control, pollinating plants, and dispersing seeds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The organization says that they save the agricultural industry $3 billion a year from eating voracious insects that can damage crops, and their presence also limits the need for polluting pesticides.
Using pesticides also harms bats because it removes a vital food source. If you want to help them out while removing harmful bugs from your lawn, perhaps growing mosquito-repellent plants is a natural way to keep insects at bay.
When it comes to protecting bats in your local area, the FWS has provided some tips. Leaving dead or dying trees be, as long as they aren’t causing a hazard, could give a bat a vital roosting site while limiting light pollution can stop disrupting the animals in flight.
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