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Rise in bat calls necessitates education

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Rise in bat calls necessitates education
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Health officials in Cayuga County say they've been getting a lot of calls recently about bats in people's homes. With “The Dark Knight Rises,” the conclusion of the Batman trilogy, in theatres now, it may very well be the summer of the bat. But our Kat De Maria shares tips on what to do if you're actually faced with one.

AUBURN, N.Y. -- Over the past few years, pop culture has taught us to embrace the bat. But whereas Christian Bale is right at home among the flying mammals as Batman, people in Cayuga County are not enjoying their encounters with them.

The county's director of environmental health says there has been an increase in bat calls lately, and unfortunately, not the fictional kind.

"It's been really hot. And the warm temperatures make the bats want to leave the hot attic to a cooler environment. So they come out of people's attic and into their living space," Eileen O'Connor said.

Health officials are making a push to teach people what to do if they have an unwanted bat encounter.

"Turn off the lights and close the doors. And pretty soon that bat is going to stop flying around and it's going to attach to something, it's going to attach to the wall. And you would get a can, such as a coffee can and very slowly, while the bat is very still, place the can over the bat and slide something underneath like a piece of cardboard," O'Connor said.

People who come upon a bat while they're awake can simply let it out. If they wake up to a bat, though, health officials are urging people to bring it in to them.

"If they awaken to a bat, we want people to capture the bat and call us and we will send it in for testing to make sure it doesn't have rabies," O'Connor said.

That involves keeping the bat trapped, cool and intact. Cayuga County health officials say they've been testing as many as ten bats a week and treating people if the bats test positive, keeping bats something to marvel at at the movie theatre and not to fear in real life.

Anyone who has captured a bat or would like more information about doing so can call the Cayuga County Health Department at (315) 253-1405.

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