Mexican free-tailed bats have been making their yearly migration north, through East Texas. The yearly activity brings the bats into Tyler, and Tyler Animal Control has seen a significant increase in the number of bats being reported in Tyler since February.
The migration is going to keep the bats in Tyler until late May.
One bat has already been submitted for analysis and confirmed to be rabid today. This is the first confirmed case of rabies in Smith County for this year. The bat was found around Dawson St. in Tyler. Anyone who knows of someone being bitten by an animal must report the bite incident to the Smith County Rabies Control Authority for proper investigation.
People are also advised to not handle bats, skunks, raccoons, or other wild animals. It's also important to warn your children about the danger from wild animals and rabies. According to the Public Health District, you'll also need to vaccinate your dogs and cats for rabies to prevent the spreading of the disease.
Anyone with questions about bats or rabies control can contact City of Tyler Animal Control at 903-535-0045.
More information about Mexican free-tailed bats:
Bats are nocturnal (active at night) creatures that can be seen eating insects that congregate near street lights. Bats are also one of five animals considered high risk for rabies in Texas. 10%-12% of all bats in Texas that are submitted for testing are positive for rabies. Although in Smith County the average is 5%, people are advised not to come in contact with nor let their pets play with any bat, especially ones found on the ground. Keep all children and pets away from any grounded bat and call Tyler Animal Control to come remove it. Rabies can be transmitted through the bite or scratch of a rabid animal. Any person that comes into contact with a bat should contact their family physician to discuss any health concerns.