Pitkin County public health officials are cautioning residents about an increase in bat activity after 11 of them were recently found dead along a trail in Snowmass Village.
Bats play an important role in the ecosystem as pollinators and insect eaters, but they can also carry rabies.
“Far and away, most bats we test come back negative,” said Kurt Dahl, Pitkin County’s environmental health manager.
It is unlikely that people in Pitkin County will be exposed to rabies, but the disease is serious and nearly always fatal if not treated immediately.
A veterinarian from Colorado Parks and Wildlife determined that the 11 bats found dead near the Season’s 4 condos in Snowmass Village fell victim to a housecat; they tested negative for rabies. There have been no positive tests for the disease this year, but there have been in the past.
Bats can expose humans to rabies through saliva, and Dahl recommends that anyone who may be exposed to a bite contact animal control so they can test the bat.
Officials recommend that pet owners keep rabies vaccinations up to date, including for cats, who are more likely than dogs to hunt bats.