Be Bat Aware!

The BC Community Bat Program is reminding people to please report any bat activity seen this winter and please keep any dead bat so it can be retrieved and sent in for White-nose Syndrome testing. If there is a roost on your property, please also report the date bats return to your roost this winter or Spring. 

Winter bat activity and dead bats are very important as White-nose Syndrome continues to spread in Washington. Reporting is key to helping the BC Bat Community Program monitor local bats and to help detect the disease as it crosses the border.  

A bat researcher removes a little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) from a mist net during an evening bat survey in Stanley Park. The bats are examined, counted and released.
(Photo: SPES)

If you come across a dead bat: 

  • Do not touch the bat with your bare hands. 
  • Use gloves on a plastic bag to carefully pick up the bat.  
  • Please wrap it in paper towel. 
  • Double bag it in Ziplocs.  
  • Write the general location where the bat was found (i.e., along a trail, in the grass, near a doorway….) and date bat was collected on one of the Ziploc bags.  
  • Contact the program’s provincial coordinator, Danielle Dagenais, to have the bat picked up, 1-855-922-2287 ext. 11 or 
  • Freeze the bat until pickup. For added protection, the bat can be placed in a plastic container, such as a yogurt container, before frozen. 

If you come across a sleeping bat: 

  • Please report its location.  
    • Winter sightings can help us narrow down natural hibernation sites, which are not well known in BC. 
  • When possible leave the bat where it is. 
  • Inform others of its location so it will not be disturbed.  
  • The bat may sleep there for a long period or may wake to relocate or find food and water on a warm evening.  
  • Please allow the bat to hibernate on the property. 
  • If the bat is in an unsafe location, please call the BC Community Bat Program for advice so that it can be relocated safely. 

If you see active bats: 
Daytime activity may be a result of disturbance, White-nose Syndrome, or rabies.

  • Please report the activity and location. 
  • If during the day, please inform family and neighbours of the sighting.  
  • Keep your distance, do not approach the bat. 
  • Please indicate if you are aware of any nearby disturbance (i.e., construction) that could have caused the bats to wake and be active. 

If you come across a bat on the ground: 
Bats on the ground are often unable to move and must be carefully relocated. 

  • Please report the bat and take a picture if possible. 
  • Approach the bat slowly to determine if it is still alive, keeping some distance. 
  • Keep others away. 
  • Grab a piece of cloth and tool such as a shovel/rake to move the bat. 
  • Wrap the cloth over the shovel/rake. 
    • This will provide something for the bat to grip onto and will protect the bat from the metal surfaces. 
  • Laid it next to the bat and careful scoop the bat onto it or encourage the bat to crawl onto it. 
  • Carry the bat low off the ground to a nearby tree/wooden fence. 
  • Carefully drop the bat at the base of the structure to allow it to climb to safety. 
    • The bat will likely be dehydrated, where possible, place a small cap of water at the base of the tree/fence before carrying the bat over. 
  • If possible, wait for the bat to climb up to ensure others will not encounter it. 

Please keep children and pets away. If there was any direct contact with a bat, please call the Fraser Health Authority at 604-507-5478 and/or your veterinarian. Although the risk of rabies from bats is very low, <1%, all incidents with direct contact must be reported so professionals can assess the risk of rabies to you and/or your pet.  

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