The Habitat Acquisition Trust is urging Capital Region residents to be on the lookout for bats. (File photo)

Bat stats: Public’s help needed in tracking activity

If you find a bat, dead or alive, do not touch it with your bare hands

‘Tis the season to go batty.

The middle of the summer is the time when people generally notice more bat activity or even find them flying in their house, on the ground or roosting in unusual locations.

Female bats gather in maternity colonies in early summer and remain with the pups until they are ready to fly. Some species have adapted to living in human structures, and colonies can be found under roofs, siding, or in attics barns and buildings.

“These surprise visitors are usually the young pups,” Mandy Kellner a biologist and co-ordinator with the B.C. Community Bat program explained in a media release. “In July and August, pups are learning to fly, and their early efforts may land them in locations where they are more likely to come in contact with humans.”

RELATED: Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats

While some people appreciate that bats can reduce insect activity significantly, others aren’t as keen to have them around.

Under the B.C. Wildlife Act, it’s illegal to harm or exterminate bats. Exclusion can only be carried out in the fall or winter, once it’s determined that they are no longer in the building.

If you find a bat, dead or alive, do not touch it with your bare hands because there is a chance that it can be infected with rabies, and any risk of transmission should not be treated lightly. Contact a veterinarian or doctor immediately if you or a pet are bitten or scratched by a bat.

Contact the B.C. Community Bat Program at bcbats.ca to report sightings or for information on how to move bats safely, or call 1-855 9BC BATS. You can also access the Managing Bats in Buildings booklet at that website as well.

The Habitat Acquisition Trust’s Bat Program is also asking people to notify them if they find multiple dead bats in colonies, houses, barns or bat houses. Please visit bat@hat.bc.ca or call 250-995-2428 to report any dearly departed bat population you happen to come across.

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