Two bats found in Montclair have tested positive for the rabies virus. 

The two bats were both found on Garden Street on Sept. 2. Today, the Montclair Township Health Department was notified by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) lab that two bats found had tested positive. 

In August, two other rabid animals were found in Montclair. A rabid skunk was found on Walnut Parkway on Thursday, Aug. 18, and a raccoon was found on Christopher Street on Monday, Aug. 8.  

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, the township said. 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.

Common carriers of the virus are raccoons, skunks, foxes, woodchucks, bats and feral (stray) cats, officials say. Some warning signs of neurological diseases like rabies and distemper include appearing drunk or excessively wobbly, circling, seeming partially paralyzed, unable to climb, acting disorientated or mutilating itself.

Montclair advises residents to stay away from both wild and unknown animals. Additionally, the town asks residents to never feed stray animals.

The Township is offering advice to residents who may find a bat in their home.  

If you’re sitting in your living room and a bat flies out of your fireplace and circles around the ceiling without touching anyone,  it would be acceptable to open the doors/windows to allow it to escape, according to the township notice. 

However, the notice said, if you wake up late at night and find a bat flying around or perched in your bedroom, then you need to call Animal Control as soon as possible so the animal can be captured and sent off for testing. 

The Health Department notes that bats do need to be euthanized for brain matter to be tested. However, rabies is fatal to any animal/human who does not receive treatment after being bitten by a rabid bat.  

“We understand that everyone loves animals, but human lives take precedence,” the notice stated. “Teeth of a bat are so small that someone could be bitten while sleeping and not even know it.” 

If residents find a bat in the home, call Animal Control at 862-621-9113 to speak to an Animal Control Officer for guidance. Do not let the bat fly out or attempt to catch the bat. All humans and pets should leave the room where the bat is, close the door, lay a towel at the bottom of the door and wait for Animal Control's response.