10 things you should know about B.C. bats

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Did you know that it’s Bat Appreciation Day today?

While Bat Appreciation Day occurs annually on April 17, this month is a great time of the year to observe bats as they are now beginning to emerge from hibernation, according to the Community Bat Programs of BC organization.

Delta is also home to largest bat colony in B.C., a 3,000-strong contingent that’s living in the attic of Burrvilla, a historic house in Deas Island Regional Park.

Here some facts about bats from Community Bat Programs of BC:

  • There are 10 species of bats in the Greater Vancouver Region. They all eat insects and arachnids.
  • B.C.’s largest bat is the Hoary Bat, with a wing span of about 39cm (15″) and weighs as much as a dinner fork.
  • Some species of bats can live up to 40 years.
  • Although bats use echolocation, they can see very well in the dark.
  • Bats are the only mammal naturally capable of true and sustained flight.
  • Bats are clean animals, grooming themselves almost constantly.
  • Bats do not chew or scratch wood or wires like rodents do. Their tiny, sharp teeth are used to crunch hard bodied insects.
  • There are over 1,300 known species of bats in the world. Nearly 70 per cent of these bats are insectivores.
  • Bats play a very important role in our ecosystem by eating insects, including insect pests of our forests, crops and gardens.
  • Bats save farmers billions in pesticide application and crop lost each year.

Bats in Our Community

Female bats form maternity colonies in April and May each year in preparation for their reproductive season.

Bats may roost in natural and artificial sites such as crevices, trees, buildings, bridges, or bat boxes. These habitats are critical for female bats as they only have one young each year.

Bats will feed over fresh and salt water. Take a sunset stroll to observe bats in your neighbourhood.

What You Can Do to Help

Report known roost sites, dead bats, and unusual late winter bat behavior (e.g., bats flying during the daytime) to vancouver@bcbats.ca or 1-855-922-2287 ext. 11.

If you have installed a bat house, register your bat house at bcbats.ca and join the BC Annual Bat Count in June.

Work with local or regional groups to conserve bat habitats (e.g., old trees and buildings, water bodies) on your property and in the community.

Be a bat advocate, learn about these fascinating animals and educate your friends and families about their benefits, and the threats they face.

Visit BC Bats to learn more about bats.