The following is the text of a press release issued by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture:
(HONOLULU) — A small bat has tested negative for rabies after it was captured last Thursday, January 6th, by workers at a produce storage facility in Pearl City.
The brown-colored bat was found alive under a pallet in a refrigerated container carrying a shipment of radishes and turnips from Korea. The bat had a wingspan of about seven inches (18 centimeters). Officials are trying identify the exact species. It is not known how the bat got into the shipment, but the bat had been in the container for about 30 days.
Plant Quarantine inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) were called to pick up the bat at about 9:15 a.m. last Thursday after workers at the facility had already captured it. Due to the concern that the bat could be carrying the rabies virus, the bat was euthanized and tissue samples were sent for testing to State Laboratory at the Department of Health. Test results received late Friday afternoon and were negative for the rabies virus.
Officials suspect that the bat went into hibernation in the refrigerated container and fortunately was captured before it warmed up. Bats are found occasionally in shipping containers, but most are found dead. In 2006, a live Mexican fishing bat was found in an office at Aloha Tower. It is suspected that the bat flew from a freighter docked at nearby Honolulu Harbor. That bat also tested negative for rabies.
Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. and one of the few places in the world that is rabies-free. Sightings or captures of illegal and invasive species should be reported to the stateâ€™s Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378).