Horse Health Care – Bat Bites
July 6, 2010 by cherryhillhorsekeeping
Hi, I have 2 horses living in my garden (we have a very large garden) and they are my joy! I try to take the best care possible and watch their nutrition, hygiene, vet’s visits, etc but the one thing that I haven’t been able to control is the bats biting them on the neck, please help!
There are over 1000 species of bats in the world. I’m not sure where you live, but most bats live on insects, so would be a great addition to your garden’s pest control program. However there are also vampire bats and their main food source is blood. Based on your email, it sounds like your horses might be visited at night by vampire bats. I have no personal experience with vampire bats but have seen documentaries showing vampire bats feeding nightly on the fetlocks of equines. Once there is a wound, it is easy for the bat to return and feed at the same site. Because bats are potential carriers of rabies and because the recurring wounds from the bites can be a source for other disease and infection, if this is the type of situation you have, you can implement some management changes (below) or you can look into bat control which might include sonic/electronic bat repellers.
Be sure all horses are current on their rabies vaccinations.
Since vampire bats only hunt when it is fully dark, you could house your horses indoors at night.
It is said that bats don’t actually bite (and a horse’s skin is quite thick in most places, especially on the neck where you say the bats bite). So the bats would need to find an area where there is an existing wound or where the skin is very thin and the blood is close to the surface in order to find an entry point. Therefore, if you cover any existing wounds that would help prevent entry there.
You could purchases heavy textilene fly sheets and hoods for your horses to wear at night.