Information on Bats
Bats are victims of ridicule and feared mostly because of myths and misconception. In all reality, it's because most people have been misinformed on the truth about bats. More often than not, bats are completely harmless. Like other small mammals, bats are more afraid of humans than we are of them. Bats are very beneficial to humans, and consume over 1,200 mosquitoes in just one hour. These tiny creatures also eat their body weight in insects, in just one night! Below you will find housing tips, ideas, and useful information on bats, including benefits to our environment and keeping these tiny flying mammals safe.
The Joys of Bat Houses
There are many different styles of bat houses that are also available in many different sizes. You can help to house from ten or twelve bats to a few hundred easily. Here are some tips in choosing the perfect bat house for your bat needs.
- Do some research and study how many bats you have soaring around your home.
- You can peek outside around dusk and get a glimpse at one or two, or ten or twelve bats flying around in search of food. This is the safest way of noticing how many bats are trying to find a home near yours!
- Now you can decide how large of a bat house to shop for. Informative retailers of bat houses should tell you how many bats each bat house can hold and how to place the house in it's new spot. Some are made to pole mount, others mount to sides of houses and barns.
- Cedar is the most common bat house design, but there are also painted houses that serve more for the homeowners purpose than the bats. Bats don't care what a bat house looks like, just as long as they can stay dry and warm.
- There are both single and multi chambered bat houses available. Each chamber serves as a kind of barrier between the others. A three chamber bat house is basically a townhouse community.
Placement and proper knowledge of how bat houses work is crucial if you want to be successful in keeping these little guys around.
- Bat houses are useful for keeping bats out of attics and barns. This can be dangerous to both people and bats. Keep in mind that although they aren't vicious, they are still wild animals.
- Bats are chased from their natural habitats when forests are cut. They seek shelter anywhere they can find and all too often an attic or shed is their new home.
- Placing a bat house next to vents on the outside of a home with an attic will deter the creatures from inhabitting homes. And in many cases this is a safe way to move bats that are already nesting in homes.
- Bat houses should be placed high on buildings or posts, typically 15-18 foot above ground. This makes it easier for bats to see them at night as well as safe from predators.
- Bats don't mind sharing their bat houses. Although if you have a heavy traffic flow of bats it's ideal to have two or three houses. In fact, up to 600 bats can share one bat house if it's large enough!
- Bat houses placed in areas that have 6-10 direct hours of sunlight are a great place for mothers to live together and nest their babies. Bats are relatively small and get cold easily, like other small mammals. Keeping their bat house in a sunny place will keep them healthier and happier.
Common Myths About Bats
The tales of blood sucking bats and creatures that lurk in the night have gone a little far over the years. Bats aren't out to "get us" or drink our blood. The truth about bats is far less terrorizing!
- Many people fear bats, seeing them as rabid creatures, but, in all reality only .05% of bats have ever been found to carry the disease. This breaks down to 40 cases since 1960 that involves rabies being transmitted to a human via bats.
- There was huge controversy about bats carrying West Nile Virus. There are many blood borne diseases carried my mosquitoes. The bats don't catch these diseases, including West Nile Virus, by eating the bugs. Looking at it, it seems that bats really do serve as a great source of disease control.
- Bats mostly eat insects, fruit, and nectar. There are very few species that are carnivorous and eat small animals such as frogs and lizards.
- The only bat that feeds off blood, the vampire bat, resides in South America, getting it's nutrition from small rabbits and farm animals.
- The Vampire bat actually laps blood, like a cat does milk, very unlike the myths that many people have come to believe as truth.
- Many people think bats naturally seek out their attics for shelter. Untrue again. Bats seek shelter just like any other mammal does, and when forests are cut down and hollowed out trees removed, these little flyers have no where else to turn.
- Bats aren't out to attack anyone. They will, like any other animal defend themselves when threatened. If you find yourself nesting a group of bats and want them out of your house, just follow the tips here on how to humanely and safely remove bats from your home.
The Truth About Bats
- Bats are the most effective natural source of misquito and insect control. They can eat up to their body weight in just one night. That's a lot of mosquitoes!
- Nectar eating bats play a huge role in pollinating and reseeding cut forests.
- Bats are the only mammals who have mastered direct flight, although flying squirrels can glide through the air, the mighty bat has all the flying rights.
- There are over 900 species of bats around the world, 45 of these species live in the United States. The number of bats on earth makes up around 20% of all mammals.
- Bats range in size greatly, the smallest weighing less than a penny and the largest having a six foot wing span.
- Bats can only see in black and white and use echolocation (a high pitched sound bouncing off objects) to find their way around at night.
- Currently an enzyme in the saliva of bats is used as a blod clotter for stroke victims, and may help reduce problems in people with heart problems.
- Bats are one of the cleanest mammals alive, constantly grooming just like cats.
- Bats typically only give birth to one pup a year and many mothers can care for one pup.
- At the Bat Conservation International Inc., they do all they can to keep these little guys in flight, while educating people on the truth about bats. There are at least 7 species of bats that are decreasing in population greatly, due to lack of homes and lack of human support.
Routine maintenance of your bat house is very important. Once a month they should be looked at to ensure no wasps nest, dirt daubers, or other predators have accessed your bats new home. Anytime you are planning on repairing or cleaning out your bat house, you should wait until the bats have migrated for the season. When winter hits, most areas are too cold for bats so they migrate to warmer lands, much like birds. This is the best time to avoid a run in with a bat. Although they are not vicious animals, they are still wild and shouldn't be handled by humans. Keeping your bat houses maintined properly helps to ensure these small mammals a safe place to reside, while continuing to help people say goodbye to pesky bugs!