October 13th
The Importance of Protecting Bats

Canada is home to eighteen species of bats. The little brown bat and big brown bat, aptly named after their size and colouring, are the most common species found across the country. They can be found in both urban and rural settings, making their homes within tree hollows, caves, and unfortunately for homeowners, attics, wall cavities and sheds.

While modern media often portrays bats as harmful to humans, the opposite is actually closer to the truth. Bats are extremely helpful to our environment. They help maintain a balanced ecosystem by feeding on insects, particularly mosquitos, and pollinating many nocturnal flowering plants.

Why Do Bats Need Our Protection?

The spread of white nose syndrome, a disease that causes bats to wake during hibernation and threaten their survival, has spread rapidly across Ontario since 2010. White nose syndrome can be fatal to bats, and has slowly been decreasing their population across North America for the past decade. This has caused the affected species to be nearing an endangered status.

Bat pups are born from mid-May to late June, maturing enough to survive without the care of their mothers by mid-August. Bats only birth one pup at a time, which is another reason their population is difficult to maintain compared to other wildlife, like raccoons, that birth up to 10 young at once.

In order to protect their dwindling population, bats can only be removed from a home during very specific times of the year. They cannot be removed from structures during birthing season, since separating young bats from their mothers could produce a detrimental result, and they also cannot be removed during hibernation, since waking them would threaten their survival.

Why Can’t I Leave Bats In My Attic?

The presence of bats can produce a harmful, toxic environment for homeowners and their families. Bat guano (droppings) can cause significant damage to a home, and create health risks for those who come into close contact. A bat who feels threatened may also bite or scratch in defense, putting homeowners at risk of rabies or other transmittable diseases.

What Can I Do To Help?

There are a few things you can do to protect the bats in your neighbourhood without hosting them within your own home.

Bat boxes are wooden shelters designed to house bats in neighbourhoods that lack natural shelter options. They can be placed along external structural walls, fences, mounted to existing trees, or on free standing poles. These artificial shelters give bats a place to escape predators and the elements. The most successful bat boxes are placed 12-15 feet in the air near water sources. Installing a bat box is an inexpensive and quick way to keep bats safe and protect your local population.

When bats have already made their way into your home, choosing reliable, humane, ethical bat removal is another way you can protect them. At Skedaddle, we prioritize the safety of wildlife during all our removals. By sealing up all potential entry points, and using one way doors to allow the bats to safely exit your home without giving them the opportunity to return, your home remains safe without harming any bats in the process.

If you come across a bat that appears to be sick, remember to keep your distance and call your local wildlife rehabilitation centre for professional advice. In order to keep yourself and the animals safe, it’s important to never touch bats with your bare hands. With these small efforts, we can coexist peacefully with bats and keep them safe from extinction.