Myths and Truths About Bats

This week I wanted to cover some myths and misconceptions about bats. As I was researching information to post here, I actually saw this question in a forum. “Will I turn into a vampire if a bat bites me?” Yes, this is a question someone actually asked.

Myths

  1. Bats are blind — Bat are not blind. I repeat bats are not blind! I think that people assume that because they use echolocation to navigate and find food.
  2. Bats want to drink your blood — This myth stems from an actual bat named a Vampire Bat. Vampire Bats generally feed on cattle not humans. And… if a Vampire Bat bites you, you will turn into a vampire. Just kidding… you will not turned into a vampire!
  3. Bats will fly into and get caught into your head — Unless you have bugs in your hair… this likely won’t happen.

Truths

  1. Ecosystem — Bats are incredibly important to our ecosystem. Not only do they keep down mosquito population they also pollinate flower. To find out more, click on the following link http://www.batswithoutborders.org/role-of-bats-in-our-ecosystems.html.
  2. Rabies — Some bats carry the rabies virus so it is very important not to handle bats unless you have been vaccinated. If you do get bitten (which is rare) or scratched by one, please go to emergency. It’s better to be safe.


Thursday, August 1st, 9:30ish pm.

Another busy week. Tonight was the first time we were able to get out. Also… how is it August already?

Tonight we walked down my favourite street. Once you hear the name, it will make sense. That street name? Gothic Avenue. Thinking about it now, that should have been our first bat walk. Gothic Avenue was busy with feeding bats. We hadn’t even walked 1/2 a block and heard 7 to 8 bats. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see them, which is too bad because most of them were flying really low.

We plan on going back over to Gothic Avenue, however, we will go much earlier.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0


Friday, August 2nd, 8:30ish pm.

Tonight was a much cooler night and due to that a lot less bugs, however, we hear a lot of bat action on the bat detector! It seems that bugs are attracted to lights and due to that most of tonights bat action was closer street lights. Tonight we heard quite a lot bat sounds along Clendenan just north of Annette and south of Annette. We also heard quite a few bats in the athletic field for Humberside High School and on High Park halfway between Glenlake and Humberside.

My husband came up with a genius idea for me to create a map for our bat sightings. Here it is. 

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 1

Saturday, August 3rd, 10:30ish pm.

We only faintly heard two bats tonight. We were likely out when they weren’t busily feeding. Dusk and 4 am ish seem to be their busy feeding time.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Sunday (4th), 10:30-11ish pm

Again I think we were likely out when they weren’t busily feeding. Last night we wanted to show our friends how the bat detector worked, but unfortunately, only got a faint bat signal. Of course, after we went our separate ways, we heard a very low flying bat at the corner of High Park/Glenlake.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 2 but those happened at the pub patio we were on.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Bat Adventures and Crow Sighting Map

My husband came up with a genius idea for me to create a map for our bat sightings. I’ve also added in crow sightings. Here it is. 

Where Is My Bat Signal?

A new week, a new update on our bat adventures! How many bats will we see with the cooler weather? {that changed quickly and the weather got hot again near the end of the week}

Tuesday, July 23rd, 10:30ish pm.

We haven’t been able to get out last night or tonight. Our schedules wouldn’t allow it, however, when I got home, just as I settled into the couch, we heard a bat chirping outside! It sounded like this — https://www.futurity.org/bats-brains-sounds-1110342-2/

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Wednesday, July 24th, dusk.

Tonight was a slow bat night. We caught some chirps, but didn’t get anymore than that. I found that with the cooler, breezy night, I wasn’t seeing many bugs. Bats eat their weight in bugs and they may have been feeding closer to where the bugs are more active. Possibly closer to Grenadier Pond. One night I will test out this theory.

Here is a link with information on bat feeding habits. https://www.batworlds.com/bat-feeding/

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Saturday, July 27th, 8:00 pm

I haven’t felt well for the last few days. I seem to be fighting off a cold. Today I needed to go for a walk and am glad I did. We decided to walk through High Park and wholly Batman there were a lot of bats out! It makes sense as there were a lot of bugs aka flying vampires. Damn mosquitos. The best part was that it was still light enough out that we could make out the types of bats we were seeing.

Tonight we wandered the west side of the park. I wanted to be closer to Grenadier Pond, but the mosquitos were to thick so we went to the top of the hill, and we were not disappointed. We saw both small brown bats and large brown bats. They were also flying very low. We then wandered over by the pool and there seemed to be a huge feast of bugs over there, we were picking up multiple bats at a time on the bat detector. It was a really great night for observing bats.

If I had a bat detector as a kid, my parents would never have been able to get me to come in at night.

For those wondering how bats feed, here is another link on Echolocation — https://askabiologist.asu.edu/echolocation

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat, Little Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 3

Sunday, July 28th, dusk

Tonight was our best night yet! When we first got to the park, we started at the north end. We entered the park shortly after 8 pm, which was too early, but knew we would be at the south end by dusk. As we approached the Old Mill bridge along the Humber River we were in for a treat. There were at least two, possibly three bats flying near us and when a I say near us, they were swooping by just a few feet from us. They were so close we could hear them chirping without the bat detector! When we listened to the bat detector we could definitely hear a few bats at a time. If we weren’t getting eaten alive by mosquitos we would have stayed much longer.

As we were leaving the park at the south end we saw some more bats. They were also swooping quite low and close to use. One thing I noticed about the bats here is they were flying in a large continuous circle why they fed. Did you know bats fly with their mouths open? Makes sense.

To find out more about the bats of Toronto and other wildlife, please click here!

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 6, but it could be more.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Let’s Get Batty!!!

A new week, a new update on our bat adventures!

Monday, July 15th, dusk.

Tonight we decided to wander up Quebec Ave and then Clendenan. As we walked along we were getting some faint action on our bat detector, but really didn’t see anything for quite a few blocks. When we hit the corner of Quebec and Humberside a large bat flew over us. This isn’t surprising as the night before we saw lots of bats in and around Humberside (high school) and the abandoned lawn bowling grounds a block away. I want to return there this week for more batty goodness!

Type of bats: Hoary bat? Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 2

Wednesday, July 17th, dusk

Tonight we saw and heard a lot of bats! I also got a lot of mosquito bites. We had a lot of rain and in combination with the humidity there are a lot of bitey bugs out.

We first walked west along Glenlake Ave. and as we approached Clendenan we saw two Big Brown Bats chasing each other. It was as if they were playing with each other. We then walked up Evelyn Ave towards Annette and heard quite a few bats. Next we made our way back over to High Park and there were a lot of noisy bats flying over. By this point, it was too dark to see them.

Overall, tonight was a good night for bat watching!

If you are curious about what a Big Brown Bat sounds like, check out OSU Bio Museum website.

https://u.osu.edu/biomuseum/2017/08/09/bat-sounds/

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 5

Thursday, July 18, dusk

Where are my bats at! We heard barely a peep tonight. There seemed to be a lot less bugs out, so maybe the bats weren’t having as much of a feast as last night. We did hear one bat on Pacific Ave. near Glenlake Ave. It swooped down really low, but it was too dark to see it. A disappointing night of bat adventures!

The one mosquito that was out… of course feasted on my right calf.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 1

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Saturday, July 20th, 9pm on

Nice night for a walk in a thunderstorm! It was super humid and we were getting some great bat action… then there was lightning and a down pour. We decided to head home. We were fortunate to see and hear several bats.

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Bats and Mosquito Bites!

I love bats! I always have. I have fond memories of playing hide and seek or tag at dusk as a child and gleefully watch them swoop over our heads as they feasted on mosquitos. When the other children screamed in fear that they would get caught in their hair (a myth by the way), I stood mesmerized as I observed their nightly activity with joy!

I was reminded last summer how much I loved bat watching after going to a bat walk at the High Park Nature Centre. We were able to use their bat detectors. During the walk we didn’t have much activity, at least not in the location they took us. Afterwards, Thea (Thea and Adam had joined Zoltan and myself) rented one of the bat detectors and we went for our own walk. A few hundred feet from the Nature Centre is a rink and a pool. They had their very bright lights still on. Around the lights were many insects dancing around and at least a dozen or so bats swooping in for a feast. The bat detector was singing and we were squealing with glee! My passion for bats had awoken again!


Fast forward a few months later and Zoltan and I got married. As part of a wedding gift to us, Thea and Adam gave us a Batseeker Bat detector. Since getting it, I have been itching to use it! Since spring, we have been taking it out with us, but it wasn’t until just recently that we have been getting activity. The hot weather brings out the bugs and the bats!

Recently, we have been going on nightly bat seeking walks every night (when it isn’t raining) and the last few nights there has been a lot of activity! Especially, in my neighbourhood. Our streets are lined with trees and old Victorians with lots of places for bats to roost and feed. We are going to search for bats while we can (until the cool weather sends them hibernating) and I thought what I would do is blog about it. Below is some of last weeks activity. I plan on blogging when we go on our bat adventures.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

July 13th — (High Park/approx 10 pm) We went to the skating rink in High Park to see if we could pick anything up. We saw some very high up, but the detector wasn’t getting anything. Because this is a lower end detector, they may have been too high up. On our walk out, amongst the lower hanging trees, we finally heard bats.

Type of bats: Hoary bat? Big Brown Bat?
No. Mosquito bites: 2

July 14
— (High Park/The Junction/approx 10 pm) We walked along Glenlake (near High Park Avenue) and immediately picked up activity. It was too dark to see where the bats were flying, but we could tell by the sounds of the detector that they were flying low. We then walked along Pacific Avenue and Medland Avenue and picked up some activity. It wasn’t until we started back down High Park Avenue until we got the most activity. There is a house where I see bats flying around dusk and as we stood near that house the bat detector went wild!

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat (according to the type of sounds we were hearing)
No. Mosquito bites:

July 15 — (High Park/The Junction/dusk) We started our journey along Glenlake (going west) and up Pine Crest Road. There was a lot of activity and because it was dusk, we could see the bats.

We continued north on Pine Crest Road to Humberside and the High School grounds, then over to Clendenan. There was a lot of activity on the school grounds and the old lawn bowling grounds (on Clendenan). These were much bigger bats. Even as we walked up Clendenan we heard and a saw a much smaller bat (likely a smaller brown bat).

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat (according to the type of sounds we were hearing)
No. Mosquito bites: 3

Prior — We have checked out High Park and University of Toronto, but I think it was still to cool those nights. We will be revisiting them.

Links to bat information:

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Crow Update: Day 4

There is something about this place. It’s weird and strange. It draws out the darkness that I try to hide in my safe little place. Every time I’m here, stories of strife and horror brew within my mind.

The crows and the ravens caw to me. Giving me permission to tell the stories of the things they see. They release the words from the grey clouds as they skydive to the ground.

Listen to me! Listen to me!
You are our storyteller.
You are our medium.

Listen to me! Listen to us!
You bare our witness.
You hold our trust.

Sing with us! Sing with us!
You are one of the witches.
You are one of us.