Did you know that bats eat their own weight in food everyday? If humans did that… oh boy! Bats need to eat so much food to accumulate fat reserves of up to one third of its body weight before hibernation. So it’s important that you let them eat.
Bats provide humans with many benefits. Bat dung has been mined as guano from caves and used as fertilizer. Bats consume insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides. And in the summertime, the less mosquitos the better! They are important in their own and our ecosystems because they pollinate flowers and dispersing seeds; many tropical plants depend entirely on bats for these services. (source Wikipedia)
Wikipedia has a really great write up with a good breakdown of what types of food different species of bats require. If you want a quicker read on what they eat, here is a nice short article. Basically, different bats eat different things, some eat mainly fruit/fruit nectar, while others depend on bugs.
If you’d prefer to watch a video on the subject, this is a great video!
Each time I post, I am going to also suggest music that goes with bat adventures! With the summer weather literally heating up, we need some surf music and today I’m suggesting The Surfragettes.
Type of bats: Large brown bat No. Mosquito bites: 0
Here is a link I’ve created to all of our bat sightings.
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.
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.