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Posted: August 5, 2018

Got bats in your belfry?

Are you noticing more bats around your house or property? You are not alone!

Mid-summer is the time when landowners typically notice more bat activity, may have bats flying into their house, and occasionally find a bat on the ground or roosting in unusual locations.

Baby bats, called pups, are born hairless, but soon grow fur, begin to fly, and may land in surprising places. Photo by I-J Hansen

These surprise visitors are usually the young pups. “In July and August, pups are learning to fly, and their early efforts may land them in locations where they are more likely to come in contact with humans,” said Mandy Kellner, biologist and coordinator with the BC Community Bat Program.

If you find a bat, alive or dead, never touch it with your bare hands. Bats in B.C. have very low levels of rabies infection, but any risk of transmission should not be treated lightly. Contact a doctor or veterinarian if a person or pet could have come into direct contact (bitten, scratched etc.) with a bat.

Landowners can visit the Got Bats? BC Community Bat Program’s website (www.bcbats.ca) for information on safely moving a bat if necessary and to report bat sightings.

The Kootenay Community Bat Project also has a 1-800 number (1-855-9BC-BATS ext 14) for further advice. The program is currently seeking reports of mortalities at bat colonies in houses, barns, or bat houses. The BC Community Bat Program and their support with batty matters is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, and the Government of BC.

Female bats gather in maternity colonies in early summer, where they will remain until the pups are ready to fly. Some species of bats have adapted to live in human structures, and colonies may be found under roofs or siding, or in attics, barns, or other buildings. Having bats is viewed as a benefit by some landowners, who appreciate the insect control. Others may prefer to exclude the bats.

Under the BC Wildlife Act it is illegal to exterminate or harm bats, and exclusion can only be done in the fall and winter after it is determined that the bats are no longer in the building. Again, the Kootenay Community Bat Project, can offer advice and support.

To find out more, download the “Managing Bats in Buildings” booklet, or contact your local Community Bat Program, visit www.bcbats.ca or call 1-855-9BC-BATS.

Lead image: An adult Californian Myotis rests on a building. Photo: Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project. Photo submitted

Kootenay Community Bat Project


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