The B.C. gov wants you to watch for stowaway bats hitching a ride

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British Columbians are being asked to check for stowaway bats trying to hitch a free ride before hitting the road this summer.

The Ministry of Environment says little brown bats and other species may be hiding in nooks and crannies of trailers, campers, trucks and other vehicles.

Besides being a bit disoriented when they arrive in a new place, the bats may be carrying a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.

The syndrome is harmless to humans and pets, but has killed millions of bats in eastern North America.

It has not taken hold yet in the province, but has recently been identified in Washington state.

Travellers are asked to check under closed umbrellas, awnings, gear racks — or anywhere else a small bat could hide — before departing.

If you find one of the winged creatures, use a thick towel or oven mitts to remove it, gently nudge it into a container and safely release it.

If you find one in your vehicle after a long trip, the ministry asks you to notify the B.C. Wildlife Health Program or the B.C. Community Bat Program at 1-855-922-2287.

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