You can live with bats in the Okanagan without going batty | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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You can live with bats in the Okanagan without going batty

A Townsend’s big-eared bat hangs on the side of a building.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Parks Canada/Rodd Hill
July 28, 2017 - 2:50 PM

OKANAGAN - A local group wants people in the Okanagan to make an effort to coexist with bats.

Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, ecologist and coordinator with the Okanagan Community Bat Program says mid-summer is when bats are the most active and they may be flying into homes or being found in unusual locations.

“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," de la Vega says in a media release.

This behaviour is also linked to the hot and dry weather because bats are leaving their daytime roosts to find a drink of water, she says.

Female bats gather in a maternity colony.
Female bats gather in a maternity colony.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/G. Hucul

de la Vega says some bat species have adapted over time to live among people and use roofs, siding, attics or barns for their colonies. Having bats on your property is not a bad thing because they are a form of insect control.

B.C. bats have low levels rabies infections, but any risk of transmission should not be treated lightly, she says. If you or a pet have come into contact with a bat, contact a doctor or veterinarian. 

It is illegal to exterminate or harm bats under the B.C. Wildlife Act and exclusion can only be done in the fall and winter after it is determined that the bats are no longer in the building.

de la Vega encourages landowners who find a bat in need of assistance or find dead bats to call 1-855-9BC-BATS ext.13 or email for advice and suppport.

“Depending on the situation, we have some funding to visit landowners and provide site specific advice on bat conservation and management,” de la Vega says.

The Okanagan Community Bat Program is part of the province wide B.C. Community Bat Program and is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Habitat Stewardship Program, and the province.

To find out more about how to live with bats go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Taylor Rae 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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