Beware of strangers bearing bats.
Ten-year-old JoJo Keefe of Spencer, Massachusetts was with her family at a local park last week when she and some other children noticed a small bat that had fallen from a tree, WHDH reports.
Keefe says that a nearby woman picked up the bat and asked the children if they wanted to hold it. The woman allegedly encouraged the children to hold the bat even when they were hesitant. “Another little girl said, 'I want to hold it will it bite me?,'" Keefe told CBS Boston. "And the lady was like, no it’s the friendliest thing ever."
The woman told the children she had a degree in bat biology, according to the Daily Mail. She has not yet been identified.
The children began passing the bat around, but when it reached Keefe, it bit her finger.
When her mother, Maria Keefe, found out what had happened, she immediately put the bat in a bucket and had animal control officers test the animal for rabies.
It was good that she did, because the bat tested positive for the deadly virus.
Keefe has now undergone rabies shots and is expected to be fine. However, officials are concerned for other children who may have handled the bat, WCVB reports. Even if no one else was bitten, a child could have been infected if the bat's saliva made it into a scrape, cut, or the child's nose, mouth, or eyes.
After such a frightening experience, Keefe won't be touching anymore wild animals anytime soon.
"All the other kids were saying it, ‘Oh it’s really sweet,'" she told WHDH. "'It doesn’t have rabies, it won’t bite.’ Then it bit me, it had rabies, and it wasn’t sweet."