Creature Feature: Bats

Fringed Myotis Bat
Just in time for Halloween, lets talk about bats! Did you know that we have 14 species of bats in the Okanagan? That makes the Okanagan the most diverse place for bats in all of Canada. Two species, the Yuma Bat and the Little Brown Bat, are often found roosting in and around buildings. If there are bats getting into your house, these are the likely culprits. If you have bats roosting in your roof or attic and would like to get rid of them, please contact us or the Okanagan Bat Project for information on when is the best time to exclude bats and information on bat boxes to give them a new, safer place to live. We still have a few bat boxes left, so it is an excellent time to get in touch if you are interested in becoming a land steward and would like a bat box of your own!

Townsend's Big-eared Bat
Some bat species you are a little less likely to see close to home, but are worth a field trip to go visit. The little black and white Spotted Bat is the only bat that echolocates at a frequency low enough to be heard by humans. Spotted Bats tend to roost in crevasses in cliff faces,and they can often be heard flying over Vaseux Lake. Townsend's Big-eared Bats will also sometimes roost in buildings and have amazing ears half the length of their bodies. Pallid Bats are large bats that  are gleaners. This means they like to forage on the ground or on the undersides of leaves in trees, but they are also quite good at hunting on the wing when they need to.

 The Little Brown Bat is threatened in Eastern Canada by a fungus called White Nose Syndrome. White nose syndrome has killed whole colonies of bats while they hibernate for the winter. Other bats are also susceptible, including the Big Brown Bat, which is another of our native species. Although White Nose Syndrome hasn't spread further east than Ontario in Canada and Missouri in the US, it does seem to be slowly heading our way. There are no signs that the fungus responsible for white nose syndrome is dangerous to humans, but there is no question that it is deadly to bats. The things you can do to help are to become a bat super hero and to make sure our bat populations here are healthy by giving bats new options like bat boxes when excluding them from your house or attic.