Generally, when you think of bats, you probably think harmless things -- cute Halloween decorations and costumes, which Batman movie was the greatest, and occasionally if you're a sports fan, big clubs that baseball players use to hit home runs.
And while bats can be seen flying around on some New England nights -- usually at dusk -- they usually keep to themselves, snack on mosquitos or other pests, and go about their merry way.
As a matter of fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, bats are horribly misunderstood and good for the environment, aiding in pest control, dispersing seeds, and pollinating plants.
Plus, they can be cute -- just look at that thing and its adorable massive eyes!
Unfortunately, though, they're not being that cute in areas of New England right now, and haven't been for the last couple of years.
Rabies in Harpswell, Maine
Back in June 2021, Harpswell Recreation reported that they had discovered a bat that tested positive for rabies. According to Maine's Division of Disease Surveillance, that's not hugely out of the norm, as the most infected animals in Maine include bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes.
However, even though the Harpswell bat tested positive, there was no issue with the general public. This isn't the case for another New England state right now that is currently causing hundreds of residents to receive a rabies vaccine.
Rhode Island Rabies Outbreak
According to Boston.com, over 200 Rhode Island residents have received a postexposure rabies vaccine, as the state is reportedly in the middle of an "unprecedented bat season."
While officials told Boston.com they're not sure why bat-a-mania is currently running wild down in New England's littlest state, they confirmed we are currently in the season when they're most active.
According to the CDC, early symptoms of rabies can appear to be flu-like at first, including weakness, fever, and discomfort as well as a "pricking or an itching sensation at the site of the bite" that could last for a couple of days before progressing.