Spring is the time when bats are emerging from hibernation and moving to their summer habitat.
Danielle Dagenais, regional bat coordinator, said with the beautiful weather expected on Saturday – International Bat Appreciation Day – people are sure to see bats in the area.
“Local parks and areas with fresh water provided great habitat to watch bats,” Dagenais said. “The BC Community Bat Program is very interested in hearing from homeowners and businesses in the area with the date bats return to roosts.”
In mid-April, bats in the Greater Vancouver Region are migrating from their winter hibernaculum [place where animals seek shelter to hibernate] to their summer habitat.
Dagenais noted that during this time, bats are often reported above people’s doorways.
“Please allow the bat to stay and rest. They need to replenish their fat reserves after hibernating, and females are preparing for pregnancy,” she explained. “They will feed on insects for a few nights and then continue their journey to their summer habitat. There are no concerns if you allow the bat to stay and do not disturb it.”
People are asked to report bat sightings and the date bats return to their roost to Dagenais at Vancouver@bcbats.ca 1-855-922-2287 ext. 11.
Other ways to help bats survive the spring is to work with local or regional groups to conserve bat habitats (such as old trees and buildings, and water bodies) on properties and in the community.
People can also participate in monitoring and habitat enhancement programs to help bats. That can include installing bat boxes
Visit bcbats.ca for more.
Interesting Bat Facts
• Globally there are over 1,400 species of bats, approximately 1/5 of all the mammal species in the world
• Nearly 70 per cent of worldwide bat species feed inclusively on insects including insect pests.
• All bats in Canada are insectivores, playing a vital role in managing insect populations (in one hour a bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes, for instance).
• Bats are the only mammal naturally capable of true and sustained flight.
• Bats reproduce slowly, usually having only one pup per year.
• Bats can see in the dark, have very good hearing, and use echolocation to navigate and find food.
• Bats are clean animals, grooming themselves almost constantly.
• Bats do not chew wood or wires like rodents. Their sharp teeth are used to crunch hard bodied insects.
• Some species of bats can live up to 40 years.
• Bats in Canada hibernate or migrate in the winter, with little known about how and where.
• B.C. has 15 species of native bats, the greatest diversity of any Canadian province.
• B.C.’s largest bat is the Hoary Bat, with a wingspan of 39 centimetres and weighing as much as a dinner fork.
• Half of B.C.’s 15 bat species are listed as vulnerable, threatened, or endangered. Bat populations are in trouble due to many threats including habitat loss, and white-nose syndrome.
• All bats in B.C. are protected under the Wildlife Act.
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