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Citizens Battling Bats In Buildings
Updated May 5, 2013 1:04 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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(UNDATED) - Several area business, schools and homeowners are finding bats in their buildings.

But its not something to worry about says Spring Mill State Park Naturalist Kelly Thompson.

This is bat mating season. The females are out and about seeking a mate.

Southern Indiana has an extensive cave system that house many bat species for the winter and the bats are seeking suitable sites for hibernation. But many bat opt to hibernate in buildings and attics instead, Thompson says.

"We have to keep in mind, the natural places that bats would otherwise be, are dwindling." Thompson says. "I understand that people can be quite frightened of bats. I believe that is mostly due to all the myths that surround them. I do not feel that anyone has anything to worry about. Bats are our friends, better friends than we might think"

Many residents and business owners in Paoli have called Thompson to see what can be done about the bats. There is also a bat problem at Englewood School in Bedford.

North Lawrence Superintendent Dennis Turner confirmed that school officials have been battling a bat problem. They are taking steps to rid the buildings of the flying mammals. This is not the first time the school system has had bats make their temporary home in school buildings, Turner says.

Once the bats mate the female will store the sperm through the winter and depending on the species, will give birth to 1-4 pups in spring, Thompson said.

"It is also an important time of the year to start building up their fat reserves for winter." Thompson added.

Bats live off their stored fat reserves until spring by lowering metabolism and slowing breathing during hibernation.
 
"On nights that are not so cold, they wake to get a drink of water." Thompson says.

Bats can get rabies, but do not survive. Bats do not get in hair or suck blood.

Bats are an important balancing part of our ecosystem. The mammal consume billions of insects a year, including crop pests. They also play a major role in the food chain in our cave system, which houses several endangered species.

"With the threat of white nose syndrome, we are looking at losing a lot of bats, which ecologically and agriculturally, we really cannot afford," Thompson says "So I believe that we should feel very grateful that we are seeing so many bats."

If bats are getting into buildings or home, holes leading into the main quarters of the building from attics and garages can be sealed. It is very important to not seal the holes on the outside of the buildings at this time though.

"If you feel it is necessary to call a wildlife removal specialist to humanely remove the bats, it is necessary that you schedule the removal of the bats after they become active next year," Thompson says.



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