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Bats in Ontario: The Prevalence of Rabies and the Importance of Prevention

Bats are fascinating creatures that are essential to our ecosystem. They consume large quantities of insects, including those that can be harmful to crops and forests. However, bats in Ontario pose a risk of carrying the rabies virus, which can be transmitted to humans and other animals. In this article, we will explore the prevalence of rabies in bats in Ontario, the signs and symptoms of the disease, and the importance of prevention to protect yourself and your pets from rabies. We will also discuss the current rabies outbreak in Hamilton, Ontario, and what this means for the community.

Prevalence of Rabies in Bats in Ontario

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, approximately 0.5-1% of bats in Ontario carry the rabies virus. While this might seem like a small percentage, it is important to remember that rabies is a fatal disease. The most common bat species that carry rabies in Ontario are the little brown bat and the big brown bat. These species are often found in homes, buildings, and other structures, increasing the risk of human contact with bats.

Signs and Symptoms of Rabies

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system. The symptoms of rabies in bats are not always apparent, and infected bats might not show any signs of the disease. However, some signs that might indicate a bat is carrying rabies include abnormal behavior, such as flying during the day or being found on the ground. Bats infected with rabies might also be more aggressive or disoriented than healthy bats. It is important to remember that not all bats that exhibit these signs have rabies, but it is essential to treat them as if they do. If you find a bat that is acting strangely, do not touch it. Call a professional wildlife control service, such as Integrity Wildlife Control, to remove the bat safely.

What Happens to Those Who Contract Rabies

Rabies is a fatal disease, and there is no cure once symptoms develop. Therefore, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately if you have been bitten by a bat or suspect that you might have been exposed to the virus. The treatment for rabies includes a series of shots that can prevent the virus from causing the disease. If you have been bitten by a bat or have had direct contact with a bat, wash the wound with soap and water immediately. Then, seek medical attention from a healthcare professional who will determine if the rabies shots are necessary.

Rabies Shots

If you have been bitten by a bat, you will need to receive a series of rabies shots. These shots are not given in one dose, and the number of shots you will receive depends on your age, weight, and medical history. The treatment usually involves a series of four to five shots that are given over two weeks. The rabies vaccine is very effective and safe, and the chances of contracting rabies after receiving the vaccine are minimal. The shots work by prompting the immune system to produce antibodies that can fight the virus if it is present in the body.

Hamilton's Rabies Outbreak

Hamilton is currently experiencing a rabies outbreak, which has seen 330 animals test positive since December 2015, according to a release from the Hamilton Public Health Services. This outbreak highlights the importance of taking preventive measures to protect yourself and your pets from rabies. It is important to keep your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations and to avoid contact with wild animals, particularly bats.


Prevention is the best way to protect yourself and your pets from rabies. You can take several steps to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, such as:

  • Vaccinating your pets: Vaccinating your pets, including dogs and cats, against rabies is a critical step in preventing the disease. Vaccinations are available for both dogs and cats and are typically required by law.

  • Avoiding contact with wild animals: It is important to avoid contact with wild animals, particularly bats. If you find a bat in your home or on your property, call a professional wildlife control service to remove it safely.

  • Sealing off entry points: Bats can enter homes through small openings, such as cracks in walls, attics, or chimneys. Sealing off these entry points can help prevent bats from entering your home.

  • Wearing protective clothing: If you are handling bats, it is important to wear protective clothing, such as gloves, to prevent direct contact with the bat and any potential exposure to the virus.

Bats are fascinating creatures that play an essential role in our ecosystem, but they can carry the deadly rabies virus. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease and take preventive measures to protect yourself and your pets. Hamilton's current rabies outbreak is a reminder of the importance of vaccination and avoiding contact with wild animals.

If you find a bat in your home or suspect that you have been exposed to the virus, contact Integrity Wildlife Control, to safely remove the bat and prevent the spread of the virus. Integrity Wildlife Control is a professional wildlife control service that specializes in the removal of bats. We have a team of professionals who are trained in handling bats safely and humanely. We use the most current and effective methods to remove bats from homes and properties. We also provide preventative measures to ensure that bats do not return to the same location. If you suspect that you have a bat infestation, contact Integrity Wildlife Control immediately by calling 289-272-9453 or fill out this form and we will contact you on today.


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