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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Living With Bats

What to do if you find a dead bat or a bat behaving abnormally

Attention! If you or your pet have come into contact with a bat, please see the Rabies section for instructions.

Dead bat
  • Never handle a bat — healthy, sick or dead — with bare hands!
  • Do not handle a sick or dead bat unless instructed to do so or you need to remove it from your home or move it out of the way.
  • Always wear gloves when handling a bat!
    • Use rubber, vinyl or nitrile gloves to pick up the bat and place it in a Ziploc bag (if you do not have gloves, turn the bag inside out and pick up the bat with the bag).
    • Seal the ziploc bag, place inside a second ziploc bag, and seal the second bag.
    • Label the bag with the date, location and your contact information.
    • If the carcass is fresh, chill the bat, but do NOT freeze it.
  • Please report sick or dead bats immediately by contacting the ADF&G Diversity Program or your local ADF&G office.
  • Please fill out the Bat Report Form (Word doc 35 kB).

What do we do with the dead bats we collect?

All carcasses in reasonably good condition are examined by the ADF&G Wildlife Veterinarian to determine the cause of death. Fresh carcasses that have been chilled, but not frozen, are particularly valuable, because it is possible to run a wider variety of tests on fresh, unfrozen tissue. Afterwards, the carcasses are sent to the University of Alaska Museum, where they are available to scientists in Alaska and all around the world for research purposes. Even old carcasses are useful — in fact, bat carcasses mummify really well and can be a valuable source of DNA. Most of the bats in the museum's collection were turned in by members of the public, so thank you for taking the time to report dead bats to us!

How to collect a dead bat if you are asked to do so by an ADF&G biologist

A fresh dead bat should be handled with protective (nitrile or latex) gloves. If you do not have gloves, turn a ziploc bag inside out and use that to pick up the bat. Double-bag the bat in plastic ziploc bags and chill it immediately. Please do NOT freeze bat carcasses unless:

  • You are asked to do so
  • The carcass can't be shipped within 72 hours
  • ADF&G does not call back within 48 hours.

Chilled bats should be kept cold (35–45° F). Frozen samples should be kept frozen.


Southeast Alaska

Karen Blejwas

Southcentral and Interior

Marian Snively
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage AK, 99518

To report a freshly killed or freshly found dead bat please call the Wildlife Disease Surveillance Message line:

907-328-8354 or email