LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Park rangers are warning the public to not interact with wildlife after two incidents in Death Valley including a woman who was bitten by a bat with rabies.
On April 28, a bat was seen behaving strangely and was sitting on top of a garbage can outside a general store. When an employee attempted to move the bat away from the public space, it bit her through her nitrile gloves, National Park Services said.
NPS collected that bat and it was tested for rabies. On May 2, the woman was told that the bat did have rabies and she is being treated for rabies exposure.
Anyone who may have had contact with this bat should contact Inyo County Health Department at 760-873-7868 for medical guidance.
Rabies is usually fatal unless treated before symptoms begin. Humans can contract rabies through contact with an infected animal’s saliva such as a bite or scratch. Any mammal can carry rabies and people should be especially concerned when an animal is behaving aggressively or does not show a normal fear of humans, according to NPS.
Typically less than 1% of bats have rabies and they along with all other native wildlife are protected within the park.
A week earlier, a coyote was hit by a vehicle on CA-190 near the intersection with Badwater Road. NPS said that it is not known if the coyote survived and that some coyotes in the park have learned to associate vehicles with people feeding them, which is illegal in the national park.
Here are some tips to stay safe around wildlife:
- Never approach, touch, feed, or pick up a wild animal. Please enjoy wildlife from a safe distance
- If you see sick, dead, or erratic-behaving wildlife in the park, notify a park employee
- Consult with your doctor in the event you have contacted an animal thought to be rabid
- In areas where pets are allowed, make sure that pets are always vaccinated and kept on a leash
- Stay out of mine openings and other places bats are likely to roost