What to do if you find a bat

Are you noticing more bats around your house or property? You are not alone.

Are you noticing more bats around your house or property? You are not alone.

The Skeena community bat project, funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, has received numerous calls reporting bats in unusual locations this summer.

According to the project, mid-summer is the time when landowners typically notice more bat activity, may have bats flying into their house, and occasionally find a bat on the ground or roosting in unusual locations.

Biologist Mandy Kellner explained that these surprise visitors are usually the young pups.

“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,” said Kellner.

Female bats gather in maternity colonies in early summer, where they will remain until the pups are ready to fly. Some species of bats have adapted to live in human structures, and colonies may be found under roofs or siding, or in attics, barns, or other buildings.

While some landowners view bats as a benefit due to insect control, others may prefer to exclude the bats. However, under the B.C. Wildlife Act it is illegal to exterminate or harm bats, and exclusion can only be done in the fall and winter after it is determined that the bats are no longer in the building.

For landowners who find a bat in need of assistance or find dead bats, the project has a 1-800 number with regional coordinators across the province able to offer advice. To contact your local community bat program, call 1-855-9BC-BATS, extension 19.

Although bats in B.C. have low levels of rabies infections, the Skeena community bat project says any risk of transmission should not be treated lightly. Residents are advised to contact a doctor or veterinarian if a person or pet could have come into direct contact (bitten or scratched) with a bat.

To find out more, visit www.bcbats.ca and download the ‘seven steps to managing bats in buildings’ booklet.