Each year, we get asked the same questions regarding bats. There are many misconceptions about bats and, although not a bird, this winged creature is associated with many faults not of its own doing.
Bats provide humans with many benefits. Bats eat millions of pounds of insects nightly, saving farmers millions of dollars in pesticides and saving the average homeowner a great deal of money in insect repellent and other expensive bug toxins.
Because bats mate in the fall but do not become pregnant until spring, scientists have used certain hormones for birth control studies. Doctors have used the advanced sonar system in bats for work with the blind. Vampire bat saliva has been used in many studies to treat heart problems. Microbats that live in the tropics and eat fruit and drink nectar provide the environment with a pollination of key plant species. Without these bats, our tropical rain forests would never regenerate.
There are approximately 40 different species of bats in North America. Worldwide, the number of species increases to over 1,000. The greatest variety of bat species can be found in the tropical rain forests.
Natural habitat for bats is becoming more and more scarce. A bat house will give a home to bats that would otherwise quickly die if they could not find a suitable home. The bats that live in your bat house are doing you a tremendous favor. Bats eat thousands of insects nightly during the warm seasons.
Bats do not compete with birds, either for space or food. Bats and birds come out at different times to forage for food. Birds are out from sunrise to sunset, while bats are out from sunset to sunrise. Also, bats do not eat bird seed. Once a colony of bats has found your bat house, they will use that same house every year. In northern climates where bats hibernate, the bats will leave the bat house during the winter months and return to your bat house in the spring.
Unlike bird houses with an entrance hole on the sides, a bat house is built to trap heat with the entrance at the bottom. Place your bat house as high up a tree, pole or house as possible facing the sun. Bats are attracted to any opening that traps heat, which explains their fondness for a louvered attic window.
Enjoy your birds (and bats)!
Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve White is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.