A Big Brown Bat hangs out for a quick photo. Bats are more active in the mid to late summer weeks as pups test out their wings and learn to fly. (Photo by Cory Olson)

Mid summer means more bats around

Call for help if bats are found dead or alive

Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

If you’re seeing more little winged critters around your crib lately you can relax, you’re not going batty.

The middle of summer is typically the time bats are more noticeable around homes and properties, explained Mandy Kellner, a biologist and co-ordinator with the B.C. community bat project.

“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,” Kellner said in a statement.

“The long hot spell of dry weather has also made bats, like humans, desperate for a drink and more likely to come out before darkness to satisfy their thirst.”

The Habitat Acquisition Trust’s (HAT) bat project is receiving numerous calls about bats in strange locations this summer.

Landowners who discover a dead bat or one in need of assistance can call 1-855-9BC-BATS, extension 12, for advice from a regional co-ordinator on what to do.

Bats have very low levels of rabies infections, but any risk of transmission should not be treated lightly. Contact a doctor or a veterinarian if you or a pet have come in direct contact with a bat, or have been bitten or scratched.

Female bats gather in maternity colonies in early summer and remain there until the pups are ready to fly. Some species have adapted to living in human structures, and colonies can be found under roofs or siding.

Some landowners consider bats beneficial because they provide insect control, while others would prefer they moved on.

However, it is illegal to harm or exterminate bats under the B.C. Wildlife Act, and exclusion can only be done in the fall or winter once it’s determined that the bats are no longer in the building.

The bat project’s co-ordinators can provide the best advice and support.

Biologists from the community bat program are also available in some parts of the province, including the West Shore and South Vancouver Island, to visit landowners to provide site-specific advice on bat conservation and management.

HAT’s bat project, representative of the B.C. community bat project, is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, the B.C. government, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Lush cosmetic products.

Go to bcbats.ca for more information. You can also email bat@hat.bc.ca and speak to Katie Bell, the bat stewardship co-ordinator, or call the B.C. community bat project at 1-855-9BC-BATS.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

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