It’s bat season here at Advanced Wildlife Control! For us, that means that a much higher percentage of the calls that we receive are from customers or potential customers that have had or currently have a bat flying around in there home. This is often a frightening experience for people, but what most people don’t realize is that it is often just as scary for the bats as for you! Bats don’t want to be in your living spaces anymore than you want them in there, and typically only end up in living areas by accident.
Despite the somewhat evil or spooky lore surrounding bats, these creatures are far from blood-sucking monsters. In fact, they are an essential part of our ecosystem! While sharing your home with bats is definitely not recommended, here are a few fun facts about bats, and some reasons why it’s important to evict these little guys, rather than exterminate them, if they do take up residence.
1. Bats are one of nature’s best forms of pest control! Of the bats species found here in Wisconsin, all are insectivores, meaning that their diet consists of insects. These insects can range from moths and beetles to pesky mosquitoes. In fact, for one of the most common species here in Wisconsin, the little brown bat, it’s even been studied that more than 70 percent of these bats consume mosquitoes nightly! And on that note…
2. Bats don’t drink blood! At least, the ones here in Wisconsin do not! While vampire bats do exist, they only live in Mexico and Central and South America…and your local Milwaukee County Zoo of course!
3. There are at least eight different types of bats that have been found in Wisconsin! Four of those species are what we call cave-dwelling bats, and four of which are tree-dwelling.
4. Some bats migrate! Tree-dwelling bats actually migrate for the winter, like birds do. Cave-dwelling bats, on the other hand, hibernate in caves, mines, and even human structures.
5. Bats use echolocation! Echolocation is the process of finding objects by using the reflection of sound off of that object. This process is also used by dolphins!
6. Bats aren’t actually blind! While some species, like the little brown bat, may predominantly use sound to navigate, hunt, etc., they can still see.
7. Bats live in large groups! These groups are called colonies, and, depending on the species, can range in size from tens and hundreds to tens of thousands!
8. Bats only have one baby a year! This baby, called a pup, can fly after just three short weeks, although probably not very well. This means that, unlike other animals like mice or rabbits, bat reproduction is a slow process, and when disease occurs it can decimate bat populations.
9. Bats are protected in Wisconsin! Because of the spread of a devastating disease called White-Nose Syndrome, state authorities here in Wisconsin have listed all types of cave-dwelling bats as threatened, and therefore are a protected species that cannot be killed.
10. Speaking of diseases, it’s true that bats are one of the animals that can carry rabies. However, it’s estimated that only about 6% of the bat population actually carries the disease. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and leave the handling of bats to a wildlife control professional.