A live bat captured near Honolulu Airport’s interisland terminal has tested negative for rabies, the state Agriculture Department said today.
Airport security personnel on Monday afternoon saw a man playing with the bat and tossing it in the air outside of the lobby near Baggage Claim B. Security personnel recovered the bat and turned over to the Transportation Safety Administration, which called state agricultural inspectors.
The bat died overnight and a necropsy was conducted Tuesday by state veterinarians. Late Tuesday night, the Department of Health’s laboratory completed rabies tests, which were negative for the virus, the Agriculture Department said.
It is not known where the bat came from or how it got to the airport.
The bat was identified as a Little Brown Bat, or Myotis lucifigus, state agriculture officials said. The little brown bat is native to North America and is one of the most common bat found on the mainland. They are insectivores and are mainly nocturnal. The bat was brown and had a wingspan of about 9 inches.
"Keeping Hawai`i rabies free is one of the highest priorities of the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture," state Agriculture Chairman Russell Kokubun said in a new release. "Incidents like this remind us that it is not just a concern for animal health, but also human health."
Hawaii is the only U.S. state and one of the few places in the world that is rabies free, the department said.