A majority of rabies cases involve bats. If you see a bat out, do not try to catch it or pick it up. Leave roosting bats alone. If it’s on the ground, put something over it to contain it (also so no animal or child comes in contact with it), and report it to your local health department or animal control.
Bat bites can be hard to detect. If you have come in contact with a bat, go to the doctor right away.
The Department of Health Services reports, "...transmission of rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant or unrecognized bites from bats. In the US, human fatalities associated with rabies occur in people who fail to seek medical assistance, usually because they were unaware of their exposure."
This does not mean bats are bad. They play a key role in the desert ecosystem by eating insects, including agricultural pests, and by seed dispersal and pollination. The best protection we can offer these unique mammals is to learn more about their habits and recognize the value of living safely with them.
Arizona Game and Fish has a great bat conservation and management web page.
If you believe you may have been exposed to the rabies virus call
Animal Care and Control: (602) 506-7387 or
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health:
(602) 747-7500 (24 hours a day)