Solved! What Does Bat Poop Look Like?
Don’t be in the dark and wonder, “What does bat poop look like?” Check out this guide for some helpful tips to identify bat droppings on your property.
Q: I was bringing boxes down from the attic, and I noticed a pile of droppings on the floor. I think they look like mouse droppings, but my partner thinks it’s bat guano. What does bat poop look like, and does this mean I have bats roosting in my attic?
A: While homeowners don’t want any pests to take up residence in their homes, bats are likely among the least desirable. Not only can they carry dangerous diseases, but they can fly, making trapping and relocating them much more difficult. Luckily, bat droppings (or bat guano, another bat poop name) have a few distinct characteristics that will make it easy to determine if you’re dealing with an infestation of bats or a different four-legged pest. If you determine bats are the ones leaving droppings in your home, a wildlife removal technician who specializes in humane removal methods can relocate bats to somewhere other than your attic.
Bat droppings are oval in shape, similar to a rugby ball.
Bat droppings are small, between 4 and 8 millimeters long—slightly larger than a grain of rice. The droppings are dark in color and segmented, so the shape resembles a rugby ball. Since bats roost in concealed, remote spaces, bat guano collects beneath ridge boards, gable ends, or around chimneys. Homeowners may also spot bat droppings on porches, balconies, or decks. The piles of guano may be several centimeters deep.
Homeowners who spot bat poop on their property will want to get rid of it as soon as possible, especially if there are pets or children who could come in contact with it. Homeowners can attempt to remove it with a shovel or dustpan and by double bagging it before putting it in the trash. However, it may be safer to wait for a wildlife removal specialist to remove the bat guano due to the risk of disease.
Some gardeners swear by using bat guano as a fertilizer, but it’s generally not safe to harvest any bat droppings for use in a backyard garden. There are regulations in place from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to control the decomposition and drying process for commercially sold manure and guano fertilizer that minimizes these disease risks.
Bat poop can look like mouse droppings, but mouse poop won’t pass the crumble test.
Homeowners who have spotted mouse droppings may think that bat droppings look similar. While a homeowner looking at bat poop pictures may think it’s mouse poop, there are several distinct differences.
The best way to determine which animal the droppings came from is the crumble test: Take a dropping and put it in a paper towel or tissue, then press it together between your fingers. Bat droppings will crumble into a fine powder with minimal pressure. Bat poop may also look slightly glittery, as a bat’s diet is composed mainly of insects and bats aren’t able to fully digest the exoskeletons. When performing the crumble test, it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
What does mouse poop look like? Rodent poop is more elongated and pinched in shape than bat poop. Newer mouse droppings may be whitish and soft, while older droppings are harder and won’t crumble.
Bat droppings have an acrid odor and may leave stains.
To no one’s surprise, bat poop doesn’t smell great. As it decomposes, bat guano can have a musty, acrid odor. And since bat guano often collects in large quantities, it may not be long before a homeowner smells it.
Bat urine and guano can also stain wood, drywall, and other materials, especially when there’s a significant infestation and, therefore, a significant amount of waste produced. The staining is very difficult to remove, and paint may only be able to cover the stains for a short while until they show through again. It’s often better to remove any affected sheetrock and insulation and replace it after a bat infestation is resolved.
Bat guano deposits can signal an infestation.
Some species of bats are solitary dwellers, but many live in colonies. These communal bats will create piles of guano that can be several centimeters deep. If a homeowner spots piles like these, it is likely a sign of a bat infestation, and they’ll require the assistance of a wildlife removal expert. A homeowner may be able to trap and relocate one solitary bat, but it’s often better not to take the risk and leave any bat removal to an experienced professional.
Bat droppings can harbor zoonotic pathogens that are dangerous to humans.
One of the biggest reasons it’s safer to hire a professional for bat removal is the threat bats (and their poop) can pose to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, bats are among the most commonly reported rabid animals and a leading cause of rabies deaths. Bats and their poop can also harbor dangerous fungi and potentially life-threatening viruses like ebola. Bats themselves can spread diseases by biting and scratching. It’s essential that anyone who has come in contact with a bat or its feces seek out urgent medical attention.
A wildlife control specialist can take care of a bat infestation, but it’s important to use humane removal techniques.
While bats can be a nuisance if they decide to roost in a homeowner’s attic, bats play an important role in the environment. They pollinate plants, feast on pests, and distribute seeds. And unfortunately, more than half of the bat species in the United States are in “severe decline” or endangered.
When looking to remove bats from the property, it’s crucial to opt for a service that uses humane removal techniques. A wildlife removal specialist will be able to carefully and safely remove the bats from the property and rehome them. Homeowners can verify that a bat removal service is reputable by checking the Bat Conservation International database.
Homeowners will want to keep in mind that individual states may have legislation regarding bat removal. For instance, some states may not allow homeowners to evict bats between the months of May and August, when dependent young are still in the roost. There may also be restrictions on removing bats in the winter when they’re hibernating. A local wildlife removal specialist should be aware of these guidelines for the state they operate in.
Sealing off entry points can keep bats from entering a home.
Bats don’t create holes to enter a home—they take advantage of ones that are already there. Once bats are excluded from a home, it’s important to take steps to ensure they don’t return. Sealing up any gaps in the attic walls or around windows and vents can keep bats from making their way back in.
Bat populations have taken a hit, in great part due to human activity. Homeowners interested in providing homes for bats can opt for one of the best bat house plans or bat boxes. One of the benefits is that since bats feast on insects, homeowners can save money by supporting natural pest control.