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Strange behavior of bats could be a sign of rabies

Vernal, UT June 1, 2023
TriCounty Health Department (TCHD) is making an effort to get word out to any group or individual that had encountered a bat during their visit to Dinosaur National Monument on or around May 28, 2023. TCHD was recently made aware of a bat that was acting strangely and encountered visitors on that date. 


TCHD is looking to get information to the exposed individual(s) that any bat acting unusually may be carrying the rabies virus, and should not be touched or handled. Visitors who have had physical contact with a bat should clean the area with soap and water immediately and seek medical attention for post exposure medication as soon as possible and notify the National Parks Service Office of Public Health ( of the encounter.


Bats are the number one carrier for rabies in the state of Utah. The majority of wild bats do not carry the rabies virus, (only one percent of bats in nature have rabies) but bats displaying unusual behavior are 10 times more likely to be carrying the rabies virus.


Rabies is preventable in humans with proper medications that are administered shortly after exposure. If untreated, rabies is almost always fatal. Rabies is a viral disease that is spread through the saliva, bite, scratch or mucus membrane of an infected animal. A bat exposure could be caused by a miniscule scratch that is not easily noticeable, therefore any physical contact with a wild bat should be considered as a potential rabies exposure.