Actually it was neither. The expression “dirty rat” is one of the most misquoted lines from a film from the James Cagney movie “Taxi”. The closest he got to it was: “Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I’ll give it to you through the door!”
Nevertheless, nobody likes uninvited guests. But compared to common pests like flies, ants or mice… a flying bat circling above you is universally spooky. That’s because these winged creatures have developed a reputation as disease-carrying pests out to infest your home.
They’ve been known to carry rabies. And their droppings can carry diseases, too. But are bats really as dangerous as their reputation suggests?
Here’s the truth: Despite their prominence in horror films and Halloween decorations, bats are actually beneficial for the environment. In fact, bats are crucial to insect control, pollination and seed dispersal. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than 10% of bats tested for rabies are actually infected.
HOW DO BATS GET IN THE HOUSE?
A lost or curious bat can fly into your house through open windows or doors. If that’s the case, odds are it’s looking for a way out.
But a more common reason bats invade your living space is to find a place to have babies in the fall or spring. Whatever the time of year, bats can sneak in through an entry point as small as 3/8 of an inch wide. This includes gaps in your siding, roof or soffit, as well as chimneys and attic vents. And if they make themselves at home, there’s no limit to how long they’ll stay.
HOW TO GET RID OF A BAT IN THE HOUSE
Whether you have a rogue flyer or a momma bat in the attic, use these bat removal tips to help it get back outside — and out of your living room:
Once the bat is safely out… the next course of action is finding how it got in.
IS A BAT LIVING IN MY HOUSE?
Bats prefer to roost in high places, like attics, chimneys or porch ceilings. Bats are typically quiet animals, although you might hear squeaking or scratching noises when they’re on the move. The telltale sign of where bats are roosting is their droppings – they look like mouse droppings, but larger. You might also find rub or scratch marks at the point where they enter your home.
Bats are beneficial to the environment (and help eat pesky mosquitoes!) so relocating it outside where it belongs is the best course of action. Once it’s out, seal off the entry point with caulk, screens or netting.
DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER DAMAGE FROM BATS?
Bats living in your home can damage your house with foul odors and stains. However, bats are less likely to cause damage by gnawing or chewing. If you see teeth marks, it may be more likely that you have a problem with mice, rats or squirrels.
Generally speaking, damage from bats isn’t covered by your homeowners insurance. That’s because pest infestations are considered a home maintenance issue, since the damage is gradual – as opposed to a sudden event, like your neighbor’s tree falling on your roof.
The experts at Baker Insurance can help you understand what your insurance does (and doesn’t) cover. Contact us to ask questions or get a customized homeowners insurance quote.