April 17: Love a bat!

Bat Appreciation Day occurs annually on April 17th.  April is a great time of the year to observe bats, as they are now beginning to emerge from hibernation. International Bat Appreciation Day is also an excellent time to learn about the role bats play in nature.

Yuma myotis bat – a species common in Vancouver. (Photo: Jenn Barrett)

Fun Bat Facts:

  • We have 10 species of bats in the Greater Vancouver Region.  They all eat insects and arachnids.
  • BC’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.
  • 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% 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 1 young each year.
  • Bats will feed over fresh and salt water.  Take a sunset stroll to observe bats in your neighbourhood.
A bat roosting (Photo: Jenn Barrett)

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

Bats are important.  They are in trouble.  Bats need your help.  Learn more about bats. Visit www.bcbats.ca for more information.