5 Warning Signs You Have Bats in Your Attic

Updated July 13, 2022
Detail of the exterior of a house with an attic
Photo: Jason / Adobe Stock

Bats may be awesome in scary movies, but not so much in your home—learn five signs you might have bats living in your attic

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Bats might be ideal for a creepy night of scary movies on a crisp October night, but they’re not quite as fun off-screen (and in your home). If you think you might have bats in your attic, you’ll want to assess the situation. Learn five tell-tale signs of bats in your home, and what to do about it. 

Is It Dangerous to Have Bats in Your Attic?

Bats in themselves are pretty harmless, gentle creatures, but you still don’t want them in your home. Bats can expose humans and animals to potentially life-threatening diseases, including rabies. In addition, bat droppings can also be extremely dangerous to humans and pets. 

If you detect signs of a bat infestation in your home, it’s not something you’re going to want to put off or try to handle yourself. Instead, you need to contact a local humane animal removal specialist ASAP to get the critters out of your house safely. 

5 Signs You Have Bats in the Attic

Because bats are nocturnal creatures, there’s a good chance they may already have taken up residence in your attic long before you even realize they’re there. But there are some distinctive signs of a bat infestation in your home.

1. You Spot Bats at Sunrise or Sunset

Because they’re nocturnal, you’re not going to see bats flying around during the day. But if you see one flying around on your property early in the morning or at night, there might be more nearby, including, potentially, in your attic.

2. Bat Droppings

Probably the biggest sign you have bats in your attic will be the droppings, or guano, you find outside your home, particularly near any entry points. You may also encounter the droppings on decks, porches, windowsills, and in the attic.

And if you can’t see them, we hate to say it—you might smell them. Guano produces a strong, toxic odor similar to that of ammonia.

3. Chirping Sounds

You’ve probably heard that bats use sonar and echolocation, but you probably didn’t know that they also chirp to communicate. In fact, those little chirping sounds are how they both speak to each other and use their magnificent echolocation to navigate their world and find their food. So if you’re hearing lots of chirping at dusk, in the night, or just before dawn, that could mean you have a little winged houseguest.

4. Scratches on the Walls

This could be the most “Halloweeny” of the tell-tale signs of a bat infestation, but it’s also a useful one. Bats have some pretty wicked nails or claws, so if you’re hearing a lot of scurrying or scratching around in your attic, it may not be mice.

5. Stains at Entry Points and Exits

Okay, we were wrong. This is the most Halloweeny sign: Bats excrete oil or grease on the surface of their skin. And when they’re scurrying into and out of the little hidey holes they use to enter your attic, odds are good they will leave a distinctive greasy stain that other pests, such as rodents, won’t. 

You may even find these stains at other points of entry, including your roof, walls, and other crannies, leaving your home open to the exterior.

What to Do if You Have Bats in Your Attic

Bats in an attic hanging from the ceiling
Photo: Lillian / Adobe Stock

Because bats, and their feces, can pose such a severe health risk to humans and animals, it’s important to arrange for humane animal removal in your area as soon as you suspect you may have a problem. 

Such animal removal services can cost between $200 and $550 for the removal of bats, though prices will vary depending on your location and the extent of the infestation.

Keep in mind that many states have laws about when and how you can remove bats from your home. For example, you can only have a pest control company remove bats during the following times in these states. (Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, but your pest control pro will know your local laws and regulations best).

StatePermitted Bat Removal Times
New JerseyApril 1 – April 30, August 1 – October 15
MarylandSeptember 1 – March 1
ArizonaOctober 1 – May 1
FloridaAugust 15 – April 15

As a good rule of thumb, you should only try to exclude bats from your home from August to early spring (March to May). Doing so will prevent baby bats from being abandoned. Again, a local pro will be able to guide you best based on the bats’ patterns in your area.

Once you’ve called in a pro and had the colony humanely removed from your home, you are going to want to thoroughly clean and sanitize all affected spaces, cleaning up any residual droppings and tackling the stained areas at entry and exit points. 

Take care, though, to protect yourself by wearing a respirator and protective gloves, boots, and a coverall and using cleaning agents that will kill the germs and bacteria left behind. 

Can local animal control remove bats?

Many local animal control services will only help with domestic animals like dogs and cats. If you have an issue with bats in your home or business, you’re often better off calling in a pest control company to help safely remove the bats.

What Attracts Bats?

Like most living things, bats seek our food, shelter, and water, so if your home or yard makes these things available to them, you may soon see a bat flying around your attic.

Your Garden

Bats love to feast upon insects, and insects love to feast upon your garden, so your favorite hydrangeas could eventually lead to a bat problem. The same goes for the compost heap you may have sitting next to your plants. 

If bats know your yard is a consistent place to find dinner, you may see them more often, though this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll end up flying into your home.

Openings in Your Home

The biggest reason bats end up actually taking up residence in your home is they found their way into an opening—maybe you have roof damage following a storm, or your siding wasn’t properly sealed. Bats seeking out a bit of adventure, or even just following cool air flow at night, may find their way into your attic and be unable to escape.

How to Prevent Bats in Your Home

If the only bats you want near your home are Halloween accessories, follow these tips to prevent them:

  • Make sure your home is sealed, and the exterior is undamaged. This step is not only important in preventing bats and pests but in making sure your home is energy-efficient. 

  • Set up a fake owl outside, moving it a few times a year. Bats and owls are natural enemies, so this can keep them away.

  • Keep your compost covered and avoid standing water to help prevent an influx of insects.

  • Swap out exterior light bulbs for yellow ones, which can also attract fewer insects.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.