It’s mid-summer and bats are on the move, says the Kootenay Community Bat Project. And it’s not unusual at this time of year for a bat to get into your house.
“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“, says Elodie Kuhnert, Kootenay coordinator with the Got Bats? BC Community Bat Program. She also noted that in the last two years, heat and smoke may cause bats to use unusual roost sites.
The advice from the KCBP is to just let the bat be and it will likely move on, either the same day or in a few days.
“Bats are important to our ecology and economy. They are the main consumers of night flying insects. Unfortunately, bats are in trouble, and half of the bat species in BC are listed as ‘at risk’,” said Kuhnert.
It is illegal under the BC Wildlife Act to exterminate or directly harm bats. You can keep them out of your home by keeping doors and windows closed and ensuring any screens are in good shape. If you find a live bat in your home, open the window and close interior doors, only leaving open the door to outside, until the bat leaves. You can turn off the lights and chase the bat with a flashlight beam as well.
Further advice from the KCBP: Do not touch a bat with your bare hands. Some bats carry rabies so it’s important to avoid any contact. If you must move a bat that appears injured or ill, use a trowel or similar tool and wear leather gloves to protect yourself. Talk to your children to make sure they understand to never touch, play or try to rescue injured or sick-looking bats. If you suspect a bite or scratch from a bat, immediately wash the area with soap and water for 15 minutes. Also contact your public health or your doctor as soon as possible, or go to the emergency department.
The KCBP also warns cat owners that felines are major predator of bats. You should keep your cat indoors, particularly over night when bats are active, to avoid your cat harming bats or being exposed to rabies.
Much more information on bat encounters is available at batworld.org
The BC Community Bat Program is supported by the BC Conservation Foundation, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, the Habitat Stewardship Program, the Government of BC, and the Columbia Basin Trust, the Kootenay Lake and Columbia Valley Local funds, and the Columbia Valley Community Foundation.
READ: All about bats