If a bat got stuck in my car's vent system and died, would I smell it?

I am fairly certain, first of all, that a bat did get into the vents and then got stuck. For more on that story, if you’re interested, see the eclipse thread in MPSIMS. (If it wasn’t a bat, it was the world’s biggest bug, and I’m way too far north for that.)

I then got the idea to blast the heat for a while as I stood outside the car with the windows open. I soon got bored and got on my phone, so it’s possible the bat flew away during that time and escaped my notice. Whatever the case, I never heard it after that, so it either escaped or died. My concern is about the latter possibility: that a half hour of full blast heat on an already-warm summer day killed it.

So I wanted to take the car (a Honda Odyssey) into the garage and have mechanics open that all up and look for a bat corpse. It just doesn’t seem healthy to have something like that in our ventilation system. My wife is leery of the expense (and I can imagine this might be substantial, given how enclosed it all looks to be), and reasons that if there was a dead animal in there, we would smell it. This does seem like a fairly logical point. But is it true? There’s not a lot of meat on those bat bones, after all.

I have recently spend two horrific nights in the bedroom with a small deceased mouse before I found where the cat had hidden it. Even with open windows it overwhelmed all other smells.
I’m sure you would smell a bat in the ventilation. Should it begin smelling, it will be a comfort to you that it will be mummified in a few weeks and stop smelling again ( experience with a dead rat under the floor).

Depends. There’s two general ways to decay, the wet and the dry. With the wet things turn to ooze and tend to smell a lot. In the dry way things shrivel up, mummify, and might not be too odorous. I could imagine the vent system might favor the dry way, but who knows. You might try letting some flies in your car. They are very good at homing in on dead things. If they too disappear down your vents, you probably got a bat body in there.

Flip side is that a dead bat in your ducts, smelly or not, probably won’t harm you.

Good job you weren’t here in the UK. Bats are a protected species and you would have been expected to dismantle your car to rescue the poor thing. What you did would be a crime and if you got the wrong magistrate on an off day, you would be watching the next eclipse through bars.

Really? There aren’t harmful germs being dispersed?

Nope, just chemicals of decomposition. Which mankind has lived amongst for, well, as long as there’s been mankind.

You really don’t want to mess around with something like this. One of our lady customers brought in her car because it was starting to smell bad, and it turned out that a mouse had expired in the ventilation system.

However, along with the dead mouse (which we removed), it had left as sort of a calling card, a LOT of maggots, that had proceeded to infest the car everywhere they could hide. In the doors, under the floor mats, in the seats, in the head liner, everywhere. We actually had to call a hazmat outfit to decontaminate the car.

We took some photographs of all this, and asked the lady if she wanted to see them. She said “No thank you very much”.

I forget what this all cost, but it was not cheap - the car had to be taken almost apart to get at all the little beasties.

Kind of a nit-pick, but “bats” are not a species. They are not a genus or even a family. Bats (Chiroptera) are an order (like “primate”), and the > 1,000 species of bats represent something like 20% of all the mammal species in existence. IOW, there are a shit load of bat species!

As for the OP, the answer is: almost certainly, yes. It will stink and being in your ventilation system will make it a disaster.

Yikes, the latest two answers make me significantly less sanguine . But does that still leave my wife’s original objection intact? As in, if we don’t smell anything we are OK?

Interesting sidenote: My friend was having the A/C in his car serviced and the technician found rat poison in the vents, he’s pretty sure his ex-wife put it there, though apparently it didn’t harm him.

Wowwww. Did he call the cops?

I had a mouse die in my cars vent system, right in the blower motor. It did cause it to underperform as the unbalanced weight of the mouse in the impellers was obvious. It took me awhile to get at it as I assumed it was difficult to access (it actually turned out to be dead simple, 3 screws and a wire disconnect and it’s out). There was a odor but it was slight and not really bad, but obvious. I assume a bat having a similar size would have the same path of decay.

I didn’t mind the musty dead mouse smell in my car all that much. But having to dodge dessicated bits of dead rodent and said rodent’s nest and seed pantry that went airborne every time I turned on the heat/ac got old in a hurry.:eek:

Hazmat? Huh?? Really?!?

C’mon! Maggots aren’t hazardous materials, like what you might find in a math lab or what the state of Louisiana lets you dump down the sink. They’re just little larvae, man, doing their thing, beefing up for a metamorphosis, like anyone else. Yeah, I grant you the situation you describe sounds pretty icky. I mean, transfiguration is great and all, but do it over THERE, not in my vents. But hazmat? That’s overkill. All you need to freeze out maggots is a CO2 fire extinguisher - that stuns them - followed by whisk broom. Sweep them up and throw them in the chicken yard. Now you got some happy cluckers!

Or maybe let the car sit with the windows open for a week until the maggots all hatch into flies and fly away? Followed by detailing the car if desired?

Unless maybe we’re being whooshed.