A Pair of Deceased Grand Canyon National Park Bats Test Positive for Rabies

Bats are usually extremely helpful animals. Even though their association and
reputation for being “scary” has given them a bad rap, they are very useful. Most of the
time, bats live harmoniously with humans and since they are nocturnal, it is rare to even
encounter this type of wildlife.

Even if you do not see them, though, be sure to know, they are there. Specifically, the
appropriately named canyon bats are particularly fond of their grand namesake. If you
are out after sunset, it is much more likely that you will see some of these helpful bug
eaters making their nightly rounds.

Unfortunately, a pair of canyon bats that were found dead in the Grand Canyon National
Park have tested positive for rabies. These bats were located earlier in September
2019, along the Colorado River, according to state park officials.

The good news is that neither of these bats came into contact with anyone inside the
park. Plus, the pair were the only canyon bats that were found to have died from such a
terrible disease.

Sadly, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported that in 2019, ninety-four
animals in total throughout Arizona have tested positive for rabies. While officials do not
want to have any animals inflicted with this terrible disease, the Arizona Department of
Health Services claim that the number is still down from 2018 and 2017. During that
time, 160 and 155 animals were found to be infected with rabies.

Throughout the county where the Grand Canyon is located, twenty-one animals have
tested positive for rabies so far this year, health officials report.

Park officials ensure guests who are concerned about the occurrence that rabies is
preventable if medical treatment is given immediately after a person is exposed to a
rabid animal. Yet, if the encounter goes untreated, rabies is almost always fatal without
the specialized medical treatment.

The park officials would also like to remind guests that all mammals can get rabies.
Rabies is contracted through an infected animal’s saliva. The most common way this
disease is spread is through a bite or scratch.

Additionally, officials want to assure guests that there are twenty-two species of bats
that live in the Grand Canyon National Park. Usually, their colonies are healthy and that
means that usually less than one percent of the bats are infected with rabies each year.

Nevertheless, the Grand Canyon National Park officials released this statement with
these warnings:

**Never approach or touch wildlife. If you observe an animal acting sick or strange,
do not approach it. Instead, notify a park employee or call the park’s 24-hour
emergency communications center at 928-638-7805.
**All pets visiting the Grand Canyon with their owners always need to be
vaccinated and kept on a leash.

**Teach children to tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal.
**Bats should never be handled by untrained or unvaccinated people.
**Bats should never be kept as pets.

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