Updated: Oct 30
October is Bat Month here at Calgary Wildlife! This month we will be posting about all things Bat related for your awareness and learning pleasure, including dispelling some common myths.
Did you know that all of the bats in Alberta and Canada are insectivores?
Bats are the main predators of flying nocturnal insects, this includes the pesky mosquitos. A single little brown bat is capable of eating the equivalent of its weight in insects, about 600 per hour, in just one night!
Bats not only play an important role in natural ecosystems, but they are also very important to us humans. Bats eat MOSQUITOS and some of the insects they feed on are very harmful to the agriculture and forestry sectors too.
So remember, having bats near your house or cabin is a natural and effective way to reduce the number of unwanted insects in your immediate surroundings without resorting to insecticides.
Did you know that Alberta is home to 9 species of bats? Those species are:
- Hoary bat
- Eastern red bat
- Silver-haired bat
- Big brown bat
- Little brown bat
- Long-legged myotis
- Northern Long-eared bat
- Long-eared bat
- Western small-footed bat
Alberta’s bats are luckily abundant and very important to the healthy functioning of our ecosystems, but did you know that not all of them stay here year round? While 6 of our species do stay in Alberta through our cold winters and hibernate, 3 of them migrate long distances to avoid it.
Time to bust some common bat myths! Our little furry friends get a bad rap sometimes, so it only seems fitting that during bat month we help to set the record straight.
Myth: Bats are blind
BUSTED! Bats’ eyes are small and sometimes poorly developed, but they work just fine. While most bats mainly hunt by echolocation, they can still see just fine. Using this system, bats send out sound waves and listen for the echo to bounce off insects and other objects.
Myth: All bats have rabies
BUSTED! According to Bat stats in Alberta , less than 1% of bats in the wild have rabies. That said, as with any wild animal, don't handle bats unless it's necessary.
Myth: Bats want to fly into and nest in people's hair
BUSTED! Bats hang upside down from their roosts and tend to drop down and flap their wings before they start to lift off in flight and possibly could get caught up in people's hair. They also may fly around people because of the insects that are around people (insects are attracted to the carbon exhaled by humans) as they'll want to catch insects to eat.
Myth: Bats want to suck people's blood
BUSTED! While one actual bat species, vampire bats have been known to bite people, they primarily feed on cattle. The majority of bats eat insects.
Myth: Bats aren't useful
BUSTED! Like bees, bats are pollinators. Bats are responsible for dispersing seeds that grow into nearly 300 other plant species. By chowing down on thousands of bugs each night, bats also act as a natural pest control for plants.