Wildlife Commission Urges Public to Be Bat-Friendly During Bat-Pup Rearing Season

  • 29 April 2020
  • Number of views: 2772
Wildlife Commission Urges Public to Be Bat-Friendly During Bat-Pup Rearing Season
Big brown bats roosting under a shutter.

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 29, 2020) – Bat pup season starts in early May and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds homeowners to forgo any bat eviction or exclusion in their homes until the end of July. 

Bats are ecologically and economically valuable, providing free pest control as they nearly devour their own body weight in insects every night. Their insect removal services are increasing into full force as pup-rearing season begins. May through July marks the time frame when female bats are raising their young — called pups. Young bats, like other mammals, depend on their mother for survival during the first few weeks of life. If a homeowner installs an eviction device or covers up the hole that bats have used to get into the house, female bats will not be able to get to their young after a night of feeding, and the young bats will starve to death. When this happens, the females may be more likely to find their way into the homeowner’s living space as they search for a way back to their pups.  If any bats are sealed inside, including flightless pups, they will search for a way out and either die inside the house, or find their way into the homeowner’s living space.

Newborn pups of many bat species only take three to four weeks to learn to fly, but some require a slightly longer developmental period. Additionally, because different species of bats give birth at different times during the summer, there is a three-month range (May – July) when evictions should be avoided. During this time, preventing the colony from gaining access to the living space is important to minimize the chance that any bats come in contact with people.

If a bat does get into the living space, it is important to determine if any people were directly exposed to it at any point.

“Bites or scratches from a bat are an obvious exposure,” said Dr. Erica Berl, a veterinarian with the N.C. Division of Public Health. “However, since bat bites can be small, a bat found in a room with a deeply sleeping or impaired person, a young unattended child, or a person who cannot communicate, is also considered an exposure.”

Bats that may have come in contact with a person should be captured safely and tested for rabies, to see if preventative treatment is necessary. 

Once the pup-rearing season has ended in late July, homeowners who have bats in their house should contact a professional to help them locate all bat entry points and install eviction devices that allow the bats to leave while preventing them from reentering the home. Licensed Wildlife Damage Control Agents can provide direct assistance if needed.

Bats return to the same roosts each spring, so it is important not only to maintain your home after excluding bats, but also to help displaced bats find alternate roosting spaces when they return. Homeowners can erect bat boxes near their homes. Place bat boxes on a pole or a building, not a tree, and at least 12 to 20 feet high in a place with at least seven hours of direct sunlight in the summer. For tips on building, buying or installing bat boxes see batcon.org/resources/getting-involved/bat-houses.

For questions regarding bats and other human-wildlife interactions, call the Commission’s Wildlife Helpline toll-free at 866-318-2401. The call center is currently open Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Read more tips about bats and how to coexist with them on the Commission’s bat information page.

 

Due to the COVID-19 virus, the sales counter at the Wildlife Commission’s headquarters in Raleigh is closed. We encourage the public to visit our website, www.ncwildlife.org, to purchase fishing, trapping and hunting licenses and to renew a vessel registration. The Commission’s License, Vessel Registration, and Wildlife Helpline Call Centers are open from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. For the most up-to-date information on agency-related closures, cancellations and postponements visit ncwildlife.org/covid19.

Media Contact:

Jodie B. Owen
jodie.owen@ncwildlife.org

919-707-0187

Photographer:

Download a high-resolution version of the image above. Please credit Katherine Etchison/NCWRC.

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