LARKSVILLE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man was receiving treatment at his home after a bat that bit him tested positive for rabies.
Randy Haines said he heard his dog barking at night at his home in Larksville, so he went outside to see what was going on. He wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
“It wrapped around my leg within a split second,” said Haines. “Quicker than a rattlesnake.”
Haines said his dog, Rocko, was in the backyard and started barking.
“He has different barks for different things, and it was his nervous bark, and I knew something was going on,” Haines said.
While Rocko escaped the attacking bat, Haines wasn’t so lucky.
“Its wings had big spikes on it, and his feet have big claws, and he dug in and took chunks out of my leg like, boom, boom, boom,” Haines added.
Once he realized he had been bitten, he immediately called the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who took the bat and sent it to the Harrisburg lab. Once those lab tests came back positive for rabies, Haines knew he needed to go to the hospital.
“Once I heard that thing was rabid, you don’t want to die from rabies,” said Haines. “It’s a vicious death.”
After the bat attack, Haines had three sets of vaccines to keep the rabies virus from making him sick.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission identified the bat as a hoary bat — one not commonly found in Pennsylvania. The bats are known to travel on their own.
“It happened to me,” said Haines. “I don’t know why, but I consider it a blessing, because I’m able to pass the word on. I’m healed. I only have one more round of shots to go, and I’m done.”
Officials with the Pennsylvania Game Commission recommended if you believe you were bitten by an animal with rabies, seek medical attention immediately.
Haines said police and Game Commission officers responded quickly and made sure he got help.