We thought that the dead vultures found in North Jersey would be the most ominous animal-related New Jersey news we covered this month — but we were wrong. We previously reported that two rabid animals, a raccoon and a skunk, were found in the Montclair area in August. Now, two more rabid animals have turned up in Montclair — and this time, they’re bats. The bats were found on September 2nd on Garden Street and confirmed by the NJDOH to have rabies, per Montclair Local. Read on for what we know about the rise of rabid animals in the Montclair area.
Rabid Animals in the Montclair Area
Two rabies-infected animals were found in Montclair in August, per Montclair Local. First, a raccoon on Christopher Street found on August 8th tested positive. Then, a skunk — initially inaccurately reported on Walnut Parkway but later confirmed to actually also have been on Christopher Street, per a NJ State Certified Animal Control Officer — followed suit on August 18th.
This month, after a September 2nd discovery, two more bats have been added to this list of rabid animals. The bats were found on Garden Street and were confirmed shortly thereafter to have rabies as well.
Per the official Montclair website, rabies is “a fatal disease of warm-blooded mammals caused by a virus, most frequently spread through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. An infected animal has the rabies virus in its saliva and infects other animals or people through bites and contact with saliva. Once infected animals become ill, they may bite or attack other animals or people.”
If You Find a Bat in Your Home
The webpage also explains what to do if you find a bat in your home. If residents see the bat fly in and it is confirmed not to have touch anyone, it’s encouraged to open doors + windows and wait for the bat to fly out. However, if the bat is discovered and it isn’t known when it entered the residence, it’s advised to call Animal Control immediately at 862-621-9113 so officials can test it for rabies. It’s possible to get bitten by a bat and not know it, since their teeth as so small. It is crucial that you don’t try to catch the bat or let it escape. Everyone, humans and pets alike, should leave the room where the bat is, shut the door, block the bottom of a door with a towel, and wait for further directions from Animal Control.
How to Protect Children + Pets
It’s important for all pets to be up-to-date with vaccines as a primary protection against rabies, per Pets WebMD. Dogs should be kept on leash and should avoid wild animals at all costs. Any animals that roam free, such as outdoor cats or dogs with fenced in backyards, are more likely to come into contact with a rabid animal — so owners should be mindful as they leave their animals unattended.
It’s advised to encourage children to always avoid wild and unknown animals, including feeding strays. Any stray animals should be reported to local authorities. If you have reason to believe someone was bitten by or came into contact with a rabid animal, bring them to a doctor immediately — typically, doctors will treat a person believed to have come into contact with rabies without testing for it since it is crucial to act quickly.