By Martin Kruus
Special to the Tribune
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.
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“, says Mandy Kellner, biologist and coordinator with the Got Bats? BC Community Bat Program. The recent heat and smoke may also be causing bats to use unusual roost sites.
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.
For information on safely moving a bat, if necessary, and to report bat sightings, landowners can visit the Got Bats? BC Community Bat Program’s website (www.bcbats.ca). The program is currently seeking reports of mortalities or changes in bat behaviour that may be due to the hot, dry summer.
Female bats gather in maternity colonies to have a single pup 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 many 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 should only be done in the fall and winter after it is determined that the bats are no longer in the building. Again, the BC Community Bat Project can offer advice and support.
To find out more, visit www.bcbats.ca and download the “Managing Bats in Buildings” booklet, or contact your local Community Bat Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-855-9BC-BATS. The BC Community Bat Program is supported by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, and the Government of BC.
Additionally, Scout Island Nature Centre Presents is hosting its first free, family event for 2021, A BAT-Tastic Evening.
Anyone interested can reigster in advance and head down to Scout Island Nature Centre for Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to learn about and try to track down these strange and wonderful mammals.
There will be a bat safari to discover some of the nocturnal residents of Scout Island while exploring the night skies.Info: 250-398-8532
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Contact email@example.com to register.
Martin Kruus is the Cariboo Coordinator for the BC Community Bats Program