Several bats spotted in Ogden neighborhood by residents

Aug 22 2013 - 12:29am

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On the heels of Davis County and Weber-Morgan County health departments issuing bat warnings, the Lang family, of Ogden, offers some proof that the bat migration season is on. This bat was found hanging from the front porch light of Brent and Kathleen Lang’s home the morning of July 26. The Langs scared the bat off their porch, only to have it land in one of the trees on their property. 
Courtesy photo
On the heels of Davis County and Weber-Morgan County health departments issuing bat warnings, the Lang family, of Ogden, offers some proof that the bat migration season is on. This bat was found hanging from the front porch light of Brent and Kathleen Lang’s home the morning of July 26. The Langs scared the bat off their porch, only to have it land in one of the trees on their property. 
Courtesy photo

OGDEN -- On the heels of public health officials issuing a warning that it is bat migration season, an Ogden couple reveals that they see many of the nighttime visitors on a regular basis.

And, as recently as late July they had a daytime encounter with the winged mammal.

This particular bat hung around long enough for Brent and Kathleen Kidman Lang to get a picture of it.

"We live just north of 20th (Street) and Pierce in Ogden and when we sit outside to watch the fireworks in July, we usually see perhaps 20 or so (bats) flying above in the trees," Kathleen Lang said.

"It could be more than that," she added.

As recently as Tuesday, Kathleen Lang said, they have been spotting numerous bats flying over their residence.

On July 26, around 9:30 a.m., the Langs found a bat hanging from the front porch light of their home.

"I got a stick and nudged it," which caused the bat to fly into a nearby aspen tree, Brent Lang said.

It was there that Kathleen, using a long-lens camera, was able to get within three feet of the bat to get a clear picture of it.

"It is the first time we had noticed (a bat) that close," Brent Lang said.

Having lived for seven years in their Ogden home, which offers a view overlooking the Ogden Valley, Kathleen Lang said she would guess they have had hundreds of bats fly over.

But this particular bat, which her children referred to as being adorable, offered them a much closer encounter.

"We see them when we are out looking through the telescope also," Kathleen said. "At first I thought they were little birds, but we are pretty sure they are bats."

Public health officials last week warned that it is bat migration season and they advise people to stay clear of bats, because they have a high risk of carrying rabies, a fatal disease.

"Bats are not an uncommon species to Utah," said Amy Carter, Weber-Morgan Health Department communicable disease and epidemiology nurse.

"Usually, they (bats) will stay to their own business," Carter said.

She said the bats people see during the daylight hours are often ill, injured or exhausted as a result of the high temperatures, and they may pose the biggest risk.

Carter said the Lang family did nothing wrong in scaring away the bat that was roosting on their porch light and taking its photo after it flew into a tree, as long as they had no direct contact with it.

"Nobody touched it," Brent Lang assured.

There have been occurrences in Weber and Morgan counties where bats have been spotted along the mountains and in the trees near rivers, Carter said. And in July, an incident was reported to the health department in which a bat did test positive for rabies.

In 2012, Davis County also had an incident of exposure to a bat testing positive for rabies.

The rabies virus is fatal if not treated appropriately, Weber-Morgan Health officials reported.

Other animals known to carry rabies include squirrels, foxes, raccoons and skunks. Cats and dogs can also become infected if they have contact with one of these sick animals.

To protect yourself and pets, pet owners are encouraged to keep their animals current on their rabies vaccinations, Carter said.

Bats not only pose a threat of biting someone, but with their tiny sharp claws they have been known to scratch people without the individual realizing it, Davis County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said.

If a family member or pet comes in contact with a bat -- dead or alive -- it's important to immediately contact your local animal control agency, health department or the Northern Utah Division of Wildlife Services at 801-476-2740.

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