What Attracts Bats to Your Property?
Bats, like most creatures, follow the course of least resistance. They flourish in regions abundant in food, shelter, and also the lack of predators. If you live in a place that’s uniquely habitable for any particular species of bat, then don’t be surprised if they try and get in.
Their natural habitats are caves and other such secluded locations and this is precisely why your barn, shed or attic could be so appealing to a bat searching for safety. Some species are more picky and will roost in trees and dense foliage.
Bats roost for three reasons:
1. To digest the night’s meal: After a long night of feeding, it’s not unusual to catch sight of a lone bat dangling from an awning or off a tree because it digests the night’s catch.
2. Hibernation: During the winter months, depending on your geographic location, bats will find secluded spaces with stable places to hibernate and wait out the cold period.
3. Breeding: Bats will select protected environments for them to have their babies. Nursery colonies are where female bats nurse their young until they are self-sufficient. It is common for several hundred mother bats to share the same roost with each other creating a ‘colony’ of babies and moms.
Some of the places that bats have been discovered in man-made structures include but are not limited to:
* Storage sheds
* Unused and open structures (Dog homes, stables, etc)
* Roof tiles and shingles
* Behind shutters
3. Bats are relatively timid creatures that normally go out of their way to avoid contact with people. This is the reason you need to be extremely cautious if you encounter one up close and personal. Less than 1/2 of a percent of bats carry rabies, but those that do are more likely to get sick or disoriented raising their likelihood of coming into contact with someone. Of the couple rabies cases reported annually in the U.S., over half of them are caused by bat bites, so be very cautious when in close proximity and don’t manage the bat with bare hands.
Bat bites aren’t always noticeable, they typically are not very painful so it’s possible for somebody to get bitten while they’re sleeping or otherwise distracted. If you or anyone in your household has been exposed to a bat and you’re not 100% sure that they were bitten, it should be brought with you to a doctor to be examined for rabies. This is especially crucial in the case of a child who is found with a bat as they may not admit to becoming bitten or understand the possible risk. Do not panic – rabies remains extremely rare, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry, right?
Just give it a few hours and it’ll usually leave it alone. If it decides to stick around or you just don’t possess the patience to wait for it to depart, you can capture the bat and release it outside.
The Way to Grab a Bat
If you find yourself in a situation where you must catch a bat to either bring it to your physician or release it outside of your house, the main point to consider is to not manage it with your bare hands. If you’re not particularly squeamish then you certainly can use a pair of heavy work gloves and use them to catch it and transfer it outdoors. You can then open the container outside to free the bat or tape it shut (don’t forget air-holes) and bring it with you to your doctor if somebody has been bitten.
4. Before you begin the process of eliminating them from your premises, you should check your local ordinances and Bat Removal as it is illegal to disturb roosts, trap and/or kill bats in many locations. This won’t tell you how to kill bats, but it will tell you how to exclude them.
5. Where Are They Roosting?
If you have got bats living in your house and you want them out, the very first thing you will need to do is determine where they’re roosting. Grab a chair and sit outside a few evenings with an eye to the sky. Are they from the trees? Around your house? Your neighbors homes? Create a list of every place they may be roosting according to your observation.
The next step is to go out during the day and examine all of the structures you’ve identified as possible roosting areas. Make a list of every opening larger than 1/23 in diameter and keep an eye out for telltale signs of bat habitation. You may notice dark, pellet-like droppings on walls and around areas where they roost as well as dark smudges and stains in places that they come into direct contact.