Of the many species found in north American states and Canadian provinces, almost all are insectivores that feed on vast numbers of night-flying insects. This makes them an important part of the ecological community.
In most cases, bats don’t cause problems for home, business owners or farmers. That is because of their nocturnal habits, you will rarely see them. And, because they eat insects, they also provide some control of insect pests in the landscape.
Identification and Biology
Bats frequently use man-made structures such as attics, barns, or bat boxes for roosting sites. Some of the more common species like brown bat you will most likely will find in urban areas.
Bats live 5 to 30 years depending on the species but are among the slowest reproducers for their size of any mammal. For example, the little brown bat, the most frequent user of man made bat habitats, can live for 3 decades with the female giving birth to 1 pup per year.
Problems can occur when migrating bats roost in buildings, usually during warmer months. Their droppings can accumulate, they can make noise, and some people are uncomfortable. Bats can also transmit diseases. Rabies and flues transmitted from droppings being a special concern.
Bats have fir, and provide there young with milk
As mammals, in spring, female bats form colonies to give birth and rear young. Young bats develop rapidly, and most are able to fly within a month or two after birth. Generally males and females with young will roost separately, but in late summer or fall, males might join the colony. In the winter when insects are scarce. Bats might migrate to warmer areas or previous hibernation roosts.
Bats are excellent flyers and navigate using echolocation
During the night, they sense insects, and are able to catch them in flight. Some people install bat homes because they think bats eat and control insect populations like mosquitos.
Public Health Concerns: Bats transmit diseases
Bats maybe beneficial but they can carry diseases to humans and other animals. Never handle bats. Do not breath dust from bat droppings, and vaccinate your dogs and cats against rabies.
It is very important to educate others, especially the young, to never to touch a bat, dead or alive.
Bats guano can accumulate, creating odors, attracting, birds and insects.
More information regarding bats and disease prevention is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system that causes inflammation of the brain, and sometimes the spinal cord. Once symptoms appear, the
disease is almost always fatal. A rabies exposure requires contact with an open wound, abrasion, or mucous membrane—such as the eyes, nose, or mouth—and a rabid animal’s saliva or nervous tissue. Note that rabid bats rarely bite except in self-defense. If you are bitten. Immediately wash the bite with soap and water, and seek prompt medical advice. Be careful.
Fungas histoplasm camsulatum and the respiritory illness Histoplasmosis
The fungus Histoplasma camsulatum capsulatum causes the respiratory illness histoplasmosis. It occurs naturally in the soil in warm, humid areas, and bat and bird droppings enhance its development. It is mostly bird roasts but can all be attracted by bat guano and droppings.
Bat ectoparasites are organisms that feed on other animals and include fleas, flies, true bugs, chiggers, ticks, bed bugs and mites. Most bat parasites can’t survive on other animals, or at least without laying eggs and being near the host like fleas or bedbugs.
Sometimes bats get tired. If they are lying on the ground or out in the open during the day they aren’t always sick. Sometimes they’re tired from long migration nights. Leave them alone for an hour or two. If they are in an area where children or animals might touch them, gently scoop the bat into an open box, wearing leather gloves. Move it to a place where no one can come into contact with it.
Temporary roost inspection and removal tip
Sometimes a colony of bats will show up at a house in the spring or fall. Often this is a migratory colony, and it will move on after a few weeks of rest. If the bats are in an area that can be tolerated, such as an outside eave, then wait a few weeks, and once the bats have left, seal the area, so they can’t return.
If you suspect bats are roosting in your building, you’ll need to carefully look for signs of them.
Bats can squeeze through openings as small as 1/4 inch. Cracks around windows, doors, pipes, electrical wiring, or vents can provide access.
Removal from Dwellings
Its usually the young, lost bats that get caught in peoples homes. A panicked human is probably the worst action, as it can cause the bat to hide.
The best action is to isolating the mammal to a single room, where no pets or family members are present. If possible, open doors and windows to the outside, so the bat can escape on its own. If endeavored, you could try placing a small box or coffee can over the bat, and gently slide a piece of cardboard beneath it. Then you can release it outdoors. Wear leather gloves to avoid being bitten.
Most bats you discover indoors will be dying, but some might be roosting or asleep. During cool weather, bats can become torpid; this reduced activity is due to a lowering of their body temperature. Torpid bats might appear to be sick, dead, bare teeth or hiss. A defensive behavior to ward of potential predators. You can gently scrape a torpid bat into a can or box, cover the can, allow the bat to warm up safety, then release outside.
Excluding Single Bats
Bats can enter through open doors or windows. Other common entry points include chimneys. Place 1/2-inch or smaller welded wire mesh over chimney tops. Try sealing holes that are 1/2 inch or larger in diameter, or cracks that are 1/4 by 1–1/2 inches or larger. You can close openings around plumbing pipes by using steel wool or other suitable material.
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