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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!

Please report sick or dead bats immediately and wait for further instructions by contacting the ADF&G Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program or your local ADF&G office if during business hours. After hours call the Wildlife Health and Disease Surveillance Reporting line at 907-328-8354.

Please fill out the online Bat Observation Report Form.

Help spread the word! Click here for a flyer you can post or email (PDF 307 kB).

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

  • Always wear gloves when handling a bat!
    • Use leather gloves for a live bat
    • Use rubber, vinyl or nitrile gloves to pick up a dead bat (if you do not have gloves, turn a ziploc bag inside out and pick up the bat with the bag)
  • Live Bats:
    • Call ADF&G for instructions before putting in a small box or plastic container for transport.
  • Dead Bats:
    • Seal it in a Ziploc bag or plastic/unbreakable container.
    • Place the bag or container inside a second Ziploc bag and seal the second bag.
    • Label the bag with the date, location and your contact information.

Please do NOT freeze bat carcasses unless:

  • You are asked to do so by the ADF&G Wildlife Health Program staff member
  • The carcass can't be shipped within 72 hours
  • You tried 2 of the contacts and ADF&G has not responded for over 48 hours.

Chilled bats should be kept cold (35–45° F). If refrigeration is not possible, please keep out of the sun and cover with blue ice or wet ice in a sealed container.

Frozen samples should be kept frozen.

What do we do with the dead bats we collect?

All carcasses in reasonably good condition are examined by the ADF&G Wildlife Health and Disease Surveillance Program to determine the cause of death and test for disease. 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!



Karen Blejwas
907-723-1942 (cell)


Marian Snively
333 Raspberry Road
Anchorage AK, 99518


Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen or Sara Longson
1300 College Road
Fairbanks AK 99701

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

907-328-8354 or email