Befriending Bats in The Backyard

Bats are often feared but with a bit of understanding we can see why we should desire to attract them to our yards, and not be fearful of these small winged mammals.

 

Bats are one of the most feared, and most important wild animals that a person can have in their backyard.

 

Bats are mammals, not birds, but they can fly, and do so at night as they hunt for mosquitoes and other flying insects.

 

Some bats eat nectar from flowers, some eat insects. For example a Brown Bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in an hour. A few bat species feed on frogs and small vertebrates,but the most feared bats are those that feed on blood which they get by biting an animal and feeding on its blood.

 

It might amaze you to know, but with over 1,000 species, bats represent nearly twenty percent of all known mammal species.

Bats live in colonies and the mothers raise their young by producing milk, much like any other mammal. A female will usually only have one pup at a time.

 

Bat houses can be built by homeowners who wish to attract bats to their backyard, which is typically done to attract the bats that feed on mosquitoes.

 

It may be hard to tell if a bat house is being used, but looking on the ground beneath one will show the bat waste, known as guano, small black/brown, droppings, as they start to pile up. This is very high in nutrients and is sometimes used by farmers to fertilize crops.


In homes without bat houses the bats may look for narrow places to rest for the day. This will become their home, and they will return day after day, while hunting at night. As such some bats find themselves entering homes through cracks, or in the case of these photos the bat colony moved in behind a sliding barn door that had been left open for the summer.

 

When the barn door was being slid shut, the squealing of bats could be heard and a dozen or so fell to the ground, some being mothers with pups clinging to them. It was a cool day and the poor things struggled to warm up so they could move and use their limbs to climb back up to safety.

 

At this point, as the bats tried to return to their cozy home, it could be seen on a couple some sort of parasite, perhaps a louse. I scraped one off of the one bat in the photo (it can be seen as a small oval shape of lighter color on the bat just to the left of the one in the middle of the picture).

 

Bats are often feared as carriers of Rabies, indeed if you encounter an active bat in the day time it should not be handled, as this is not a normal time for them to be active. These bats were awakened because of the barn door being open so the risk was minimal (plus having worked in an animal shelter I have been vaccinated against rabies). If a bat ever must be handled do so with gloves, or even a towel. If you are bitten by a bat contact a hospital. Rabies is a slow moving virus so there are no immediate worries about going mad and attacking family members or neighbors. All outdoor pets should be vaccinated against rabies where this virus is active.

Learn More about Bats

*The series of pictures was taken when the bats fell from their cozy home, within 2 hours they were all back to their little space between the barn and the barn door, which shall be left open for the summer so they can continue to live there in peace.  All photos by author, not for reproduction.

Other Links that May Interest You

The Most Dangerous Farm Animals

Sympathy for Insects

The Most Exotic Sheep

Natural Mosquito Control

Rabies:  What to do if you are Bit

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  1. Starpisces

    On July 15, 2010 at 11:10 am

    interesting piece here.
    Few years ago, a bat flew to my bed, I got a shock of my life.

  2. Trinket

    On July 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Good article..we need them here in Oregon. Mosquitos are expected to be in big supply this year.

  3. Jimmy Shilaho

    On July 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    This is a strange one B, simply amazing!

  4. moteintheeye

    On July 16, 2010 at 12:47 am

    I always liked bats. Good article.

  5. Anuradha Ramkumar

    On July 16, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I never thought of befriending a bat before reading your article.

  6. papaleng

    On July 16, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Wow! first time to hear about this idea of befriending bats..Interesting share.

  7. PR Mace

    On July 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I liked this article. We have bats in our backyard and they fly around all night. My dogs love to try and catch them but they are usually too high up. We need to be supportive of our bats.

  8. drelayaraja

    On July 17, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Lovely share. We need bats. They do lot of good to humans.

  9. Mrjaialai

    On July 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Very nice post and thank you for sharing it with me. This is one that Leo should look at putting on this weeks list.

  10. Jo Oliver

    On July 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I can’t say that I would want to embrace the bat-lol. But, I sure wish I had a few “friends” in my mosquito overrun backyard.

    Sorry, I have been so absent in the comment section lately B!

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