This sleepover party bites.
Nearly 200 people who paid to take part in a sleepover event at a Nebraska zoo have been urged to take rabies injections — because they may have been exposed to a frenzied bat, according to officials.
The woman was not scratched or bitten, but the zoo later found seven wild bats – including one that tested positive for rabies – inside and said as many as 186 people may have been exposed.
“The bats we identified were small brown bats, a common Nebraska bat species that anyone can find in their backyard or attic,” said Sarah Woodhouse, director of animal health at Dorley Zoo. “It is not unusual for a wild bat to get rabies, which is why you should never touch a wild bat directly.”
The zoo gave campers who slept between June 30 and July 4 refunds and paid for their shots.
Officials said it was not immediately clear how the bats entered the scene, but that staff found no signs of long-term presence of bats. The zoo has since moved to overnight camping events elsewhere.
Woodhouse said animal lovers who visited the aquarium during the day don’t need to fear infection because the bats only come out at night.
In recent months, the zoo has offered “sleeping bag safaris” centered around sharks. It ranks among the top five aquariums in the world, according to its website.