Shuswap artist with bat colony in workshop looking for relocation solution | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Shuswap artist with bat colony in workshop looking for relocation solution

A woman in Tappen has a colony of bats living in the rafters of an outdoor shop building.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Okanagan Community Bat Program

A woman in the Shuswap discovered there was a colony of bats living in her outdoor art shop when a baby bat fell from the rafters.

She wants to move the bats to a new location but doesn't want to harm them because bat populations are under threat by a deadly disease.

Marie Hurley lives on a small farm in Tappen, near Salmon Arm, with her three horses and two dogs. Her art shop is a small, wooden structure she now calls The Bat Shop.

READ MORE: Fungus that's killed millions of bats found for the first time in Saskatchewan

“I was in my shop a few years ago when I felt something hit me on the shoulder,” she said. “I could feel little claws climbing up my shoulder into my hair. I started shrieking and flicking at my hair. Then I looked down and saw a baby bat crawling on the floor.”

More recently a bat entered Hurley’s house and flew up and down the hallway several times before finding an exit.

Hurley said bat feces and urine prevent her from using her shop to work in or to store anything of value in. She said she wants to move the bats humanely.

“These bats seem healthy and we need healthy populations for insect control,” she said. “The bat populations in North America are somewhat threatened and millions are dying from white-nose syndrome. I have not seen any indication there is anything wrong with this colony.”

Hurley said the bats are high up near the ceiling hidden by a wooden structure and some bales of hay so she is unable to see how many there are, but can often see half a dozen hanging upside down on the outside of the wooden obstruction.

“The bats love it up there,” she said. “They are safe and hidden with two places to fly in and out of. They squeak and make a chittering kind of sound. Usually they will start flying at twilight. All of a sudden you will see something whoosh right by you.”

READ MORE: How you can help track and prevent the spread of devastating bat disease

Hurley said she is in need of affordable methods of moving the bats out.

“There is a pest control guy somewhere in this area who apparently installs things that let them fly out but not fly back in,” she said. “I'd like to set up bat houses on the outside of the shop and then block up all the spaces that are open, so eventually make them move outside to live. It could take years to get them all to move out.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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