Monday, August 31, 2020

Bat Pups in Saanich South!



I’m not going to lie – I love bats! I find them adorable, and the fact that they voraciously eat mosquitos (not a love of mine), makes them even better!

And this year has been the best year for bat sightings in a very long time. My back deck looks out into a wooded area and it’s such a joy to see them flutter in and out of the trees as they dine in the evening.

Are you noticing more bats around your house or property too? Apparently, you’re not alone!

Mid to late summer is the time when people typically notice more bat activity. You may have bats flying into your house, occasionally find a bat on the ground (don’t touch it!) or roosting in unusual locations.

Our friends at the BC Community Bat Program have just sent out a press-release alerting us that this is a great year for bat sightings – and NOT to worry if they seem to be flying erratically. Because they are babies!!!

Ronna Woudstra, regional coordinator with the southern Vancouver Island and southern Gulf Islands Community Bat Program says that she is currently receiving a large increase in calls about bats behaving strangely. In truth it is just that the baby bats are learning to fly and it takes a while to get the hang of it.

Ronna explains that female bats gather in maternity colonies in early summer, where they will remain until the pups are ready to fly. Pups are usually born in late June, learn to fly in July and August, and then move out in late summer. I’ve included a ‘bat calendar’ below.

Some species of bats have adapted to live in human structures, and they may make their homes in eaves or siding, in attics, sheds, or other buildings. Many people love having them around for the natural insect control. Others may not be as keen. Please know that under the BC Wildlife Act it is illegal to exterminate or harm bats.

But if they end up in your home by accident – don’t panic.

If you find a bat, alive or dead, NEVER touch it with your bare hands. Bats in BC have very low levels of rabies infection, but any risk of transmission must not be taken lightly. Contact Public Health, Health Link 811, a doctor or veterinarian if a person or pet could have come into direct contact (bitten, scratched etc.) with a bat. Visit the Got Bats? BC Community Bat Program’s website www.bcbats.ca for information on safely moving a single bat if necessary.

If you find a stray bat in a safe location outside, out of the way of people and pets, you can leave them alone they will move off on their own within days.

People that feel like their health is at risk will often do desperate things, and with their safety and the lives of the bats in mind, Ronna is hoping to spread the message of “don’t panic and don’t touch” as far as possible. So let your friends or family know that baby bats are out and about and not to worry – or harm them. If you’re not keen on the little critters – try and wait until September and October to do any bat exclusion work on your home.

You can find guidance on timing and methods through the BC Community Bat Project website at www.bcbats.ca . Download the “Managing Bats in Buildings” booklet, or contact your local Community Bat Program at bat@hat.bc.ca or call 1-855-9BC-BATS ex. 12

The BC Community Bat Program is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, the Government of BC and private donors.