A Silver-haired Bat roosting in a woodshed. (Photo contributed)

Local volunteers get the scoop on bat poop

Bat droppings key to research in a number of areas

Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

When it comes to research on bats, the scoop is in the poop.

Habitat Acquisition Trust volunteers and Bat habitat stewards are collecting bat guano, i.e. bat excrement, from beneath bat roosts for genetic analysis to determine the species of bats living at each roost.

The analysis, coupled with Echometers, listening devices that that interpret bat calls, enables HAT to compile a more comprehensive understanding of bat populations without disturbing roosts or physically capturing them.

Echometers are particularly useful because they can pick up bats roosting in nearby trees because the devices can narrow the calls down to several different species.

Some of the bat colonies HAT’s team monitors are home to multiple species. At one particular site, Yuma and Little Brown Myotis bats co-exist peacefully in the same roost, said Paige Erickson-McGee with HAT.

During the 2015 collection season, 151 guano samples from across the province, of which 135 yielded successful DNA analysis. Eighty of those were Little Brown Myotis, with 21 indicating Yuma Myotis and 16 Big Brown bats. The rest included two California Myotis, five long-legged Myotis, seven long-eared Myotis, and one Silver-Haired bat.

Each species has different characteristics as part of their roles and adaptations to their surroundings.

Little Brown bats forage over calm waters like lakes and ponds and feed primarily on tiny insects without hard shells, such as midges, caddisflies and moths. Big Brown bats forage mainly above fields, in trees, water and open spaces, focusing on moths, beetles, carpenter ants, termites and other insects.

California Myotis is one of the smallest species in B.C., with maternity colonies for pup rearing usually only having about 20 individuals.

Long-legged Myotis are active throughout the night, even during cold weather. Silver haired bats are solitary tree roosters, making their homes in forests and grasslands in logs, beneath bark and in abandoned woodpecker holes. Long-eared Myotis have been recorded hibernating in caves and mines in the western U.S., so keeping an eye open for them in the winter helps with information gathering. If you observe bats roosting during the winter, please email bat@hat.bc.ca to help with gathering a better understanding of the winter-time habits of these creatures on South Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

HAT’s Community Bat program is funded by LUSH, MEC, (Montain Equipment Co-op) the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and individual donations. If you would like to make a contribution, you can donate online at hat.bc.ca/bats, or call 250-995-2428.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Proposed public art installation sparks debate in Victoria

$250,000 sculpture compliments an interactive sound element of First Nations drumming and singing

Omnibus zoning bylaw sent for revisions to prevent blanket upzoning in downtown Victoria

More than 10 downtown properties identified by Downtown Residents Association

Christmas at McTavish Market gets bigger

Visitors of McTavish Market on the corner of McTavish and East Saanich… Continue reading

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Plastic checkout bag ban to take effect in Victoria next summer

Merchants may still provide free bags for certain grocery and retail items

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

Shelbourne Community Kitchen vies for $20,000 prize

Epicure Foundation, based in North Saanich, will give five groups $20,000 each

Woman in Nanaimo accidentally hands over diamond ring with spare change

Incident happened Wednesday at about 7 p.m. at parking lot near Nanaimo’s boardwalk

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Victoria cycling advocate makes pitch lor lower speeds on local roads

Group points to evidence suggesting 30 km/h speed limit would save money, lives

Optimistic Victoria whale watching company invests in new vessel

Banner 2017 tourist season helps Prince of Whales decide to boost service

Most Read