Bringing Bats into the United States

A big-eared townsend bat flies in the night.

A big-eared townsend bat. Photo courtesy Nevada Bureau of Land Management.

Certain animals, such as bats, insects and snails, are known to carry zoonotic diseases. Bats are known to carry rabies and histoplasmosis. Importing such animals for any reason requires permits from CDC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceexternal icon. CDC permits are issued by CDC’s Etiologic Agent Import Program, whose guidelines and forms can be found on their website. Because bats can be infected with and transmit rabies, permits are not granted for importing bats as pets.

Etiological agents, hosts, or vectors of human disease, including microorganisms, insects, biological materials, tissue, certain live animals (e.g., live bats), and animal products may require a CDC permit for importation or transfer within the United States. CDC’s Office of Health and Safety administers these regulations: