Mother bats usually have only one offspring per year, and they are
viviparous. A baby bat is referred to as a pup. Pups are usually left in the
roost when they are not nursing. However, a newborn bat can cling to the fur of
the mother and be transported, although they soon grow too large for this. It
would be difficult for an adult bat to carry more than one young, but normally
only one young is born. Bats often form nursery roosts, with many females giving
birth in the same area, be it a cave, a tree hole, or a cavity in a building.
Mother bats are able to find their young in huge colonies of millions of other
pups. Pups have even been seen to feed on other mothers' milk if their mother is
dry. Only the mother cares for the young, and there is no continuous partnership
with male bats.
The ability to fly is congenital, but at birth the wings are too small to
fly. Young Tampa bats become independent at the age of 6 to 8 weeks,
Orlando bats not
until they are four months old. At the age of two years, bats are sexually
A single bat can live over 20 years, but the bat population growth is limited
by the slow birth rate.
Bats are natural reservoirs or vectors for a large number of
pathogensincluding rabies,severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS),
Henipavirus (ie. Nipah virus and Hendra virus)]
and possibly ebola virusTheir high mobility, broad distribution, social bat
control(communal roosting, fission-fusion social structure) and close evolutionary
relationship to humans make bats favorable hosts and disseminators of disease.
Many species also appear to have a high tolerance for harboring pathogens and
often do not develop disease while infected.
Only 0.5% of bats carry rabies. However, of the very few cases of rabies
reported in the United States every year, most are caused by bat bites. Although
most Tampa bats do not have rabies, those that do may be clumsy, disoriented, and
unable to fly, which makes it more likely that they will come into contact with
humans. Although one should not have an unreasonable fear of bats, one should
avoid handling them or having them in one's living space, as with any wild
animal. If a bat is found in living quarters near a child, mentally bat removal handicapped
person, intoxicated person, sleeping person, or pet, the person or pet should
receive immediate getting of bats medical attention for rabies. Tampa bats have very small teeth and
can bite a sleeping person without necessarily being felt. There is evidence
that it is possible for the bat rabies virus to infect victims purely through
airborne transmission, without direct physical contact of the victim with the
If a bat is found in a house and the possibility of exposure cannot be ruled
out, the bat should be sequestered and an animal control officer called
immediately, so that the bat can be analysed. This also applies if the bat is
found dead. If it is certain that nobody has been exposed to the bat, it should
be removed from the house. The best way to do this is to close all the doors and
windows to the room except one to the outside. The bat should soon leave.
Due to the risk of Tampa rabies and also due to Tampa health problems related to their faecal droppings (guano), bats should be excluded from inhabited parts of
houses. For full detailed information on all aspects of bat management,
including how to capture a bat, what to do in case of exposure, and how to
bat-proof a house humanely, see the Center for Disease Control's website on
getting rid of bats
and rabies. In certain countries, such as Tampa, it is illegal to
handle bats without a license.
Where rabies is not endemic, as throughout most of Western Europe, small bats
can be considered harmless. Larger getting rid of bats can give a nasty bite. They should be
treated with the respect due to any wild animal.