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One of the major indications of a bat infestation in one place is their droppings. Bat droppings are also called guano and are often found in areas where bats have taken up residence. Bat droppings are of great importance to humans because of the health concerns associated with them.
If you do not know what bat droppings look like, it is very easy to confuse it with droppings of other mammals such as mice. Their unique characteristics such as the size, shape, and texture however vividly differentiate them. Bat droppings are usually black in color and thin when found individually. However, unlike mouse droppings, they usually accumulate in piles in a particular place. Bats are insectivorous therefore, traces of undigested insects can be found in the droppings. Up close, the bat guano looks shiny and speckled due to the undigested wings.
Bat droppings have been known to transmit dangerous diseases to humans and pets. One of those diseases is Histoplasmosis. Humans get infected with this when they inhale spores formed from infected bat droppings. Histoplasmosis can cause symptoms of coughing, severe breathing difficulties, and even death if left untreated. The disease is particularly difficult to diagnose as its symptoms share certain similarities with many other diseases.
Cryptococcosis is another fungi infection caused by the inhalation of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. The fungus is usually found in bat poop and can accumulate over time in attics, basements, and other roosting sites of bats. Like histoplasmosis, the infection ensuing from Cryptococcosis can be mild to life threatening. A mild infection can often be without symptoms. However, in immunocompromised people, it may be life threatening and these sets of people are more susceptible to the infection.
Bats are reservoirs of at least 60 viral diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Popular among these viral infections are Ebola, severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, also known as SARS, and even the recent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses have been linked to bats. Henipa-virus is another serious medical condition that can be caused by contact with it. It has so far been found in Africa, Australia, and Asia and even then, the individuals infected have died. It is therefore a serious life-threatening disease.
What to do about bat droppings
If you have discovered bat droppings in your home or surroundings, then it is most likely that you have a colony of bats living on your property. The first step to getting rid of bat droppings is to get rid of the source. You need to have the bats roosting on your property removed before you can deal with the droppings otherwise, they will just make new ones after you have cleaned up.
First you need to be sure that the bats are still present by getting a virtual confirmation and inspecting the droppings to see if they are fresh. Bear in mind that bat droppings can cause various infections if inhaled, so wear a mask if you must go close to it. Exclusion is the best way to ensure that all bats are removed without them showing up again. You may have to contact professional wildlife managers for the removal. Once the bats have been removed and the traps set, you can begin to rid your house of bat traces once and for all.
Cleaning and disinfecting a known bat colony
When all bats have been removed from your home, the next thing to do is to ensure that the roost location is cleaned and disinfected properly as this will help prevent infection. It is always advisable to contract this job to professionals as they will be able to manage it better. If you must do it yourself, make sure that you wear proper breathing equipment and adequate protection. Don’t use your bare hands to touch the bat guano and make sure that pets are not around when you clean up as they may ingest the droppings. After cleaning the affected area thoroughly, disinfect it with a strong disinfectant and leave the space to air dry.