A College of the Canyons student reported to school officials last Tuesday that he had been bitten by a bat while walking at the Valencia campus.
The student reported the incident around 7 p.m. after encountering the bat near the tennis courts close to parking lot 5, according to College of the Canyons’ managing director John Green.
“We have not been able to independently confirm this as the student sought medical attention off-campus,” Green wrote in a statement.
The student was treated by his own doctor for rabies as a precautionary measure, said Eric Harnish, Public Information Officer for College of the Canyons. “The bat wasn’t found so it couldn’t be tested.”
Santa Clarita is home to several species of bats, some of which are rabid. In 2015, 16 of the 34 rabid bat cases in Los Angeles County took place in the city.
Regardless of the number of bats in the area, some students remain unalarmed.
“It doesn’t really concern me,” Bellet Sarhad said. “I don’t run into a lot of bats.”
“We’re so surrounded by busy areas, it doesn’t affect me that much,” said Ethan Kehrli.
While it is unlikely to encounter a bat, as they sleep throughout the day, officials would like students to be mindful of their presence.
“It’s important for people to be mindful that bats are around us and to leave them alone,” said Green. “Although the percentage of bats that have rabies is very small.”
A fact sheet from College of the Canyons’ Public Information Office advises students to isolate the bat should they encounter one. While bats do not intend to harm, they will bite in self defense.
If you are bitten by a bat or encounter one, call the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control at 661-257-3191 or 562-940-6898.
Cougar News Reporters Austin Westfall and Briseida Holguin contributed to this report.