The wildlife spotlight is on Ontario’s bats since they are likely to be facing a formidable foe in the form of the white nose syndrome. Those who are fearful of these critters often wonder what’s so special about them anyway. Why do we need to spend time discussing them? Well read on below to see exactly why these winged mammals are so important and why humane bat exclusion should be a phrase that is on the lips of every Ontario resident.
Bats deserve the spotlight not just because they are about to face a serious threat to their existence but also because of the significant role they play in keeping the natural balance in check.
We Need Bats
These flying mammals help to keep the mosquito population down as they prey on them. In controlling the mosquito population, bats actually help to keep people safe from diseases that the little bugs transmit. One such disease is the West Nile Virus. Even though bats can contract the virus, they are considered ‘dead end’ hosts which means that the virus cannot move from them to another living organism.
Ontario is blessed with the presence of seven main bat species; the Hoary bat, the Silver-haired bat the Little Brown bat, the Big Brown bat, the Eastern Small-footed bat, the Eastern Red bat and the Eastern Pipistrelle.
The Hoary bat is Ontario’s largest bat and it sports grey body fur with white tipped hairs. Its under section has a yellowish hue. When nursing its young, the female tends to hunt for up to 6 hours, a time period which more than doubles its normal foraging time.
The Silver-haired bat is a medium-sized bat that mostly dark brown to black and has some white tipped hairs on the sides of its back. The females tend to migrate further away (to the north) from the home territory than the males.
The Eastern Pipistrelle is among the tiniest bats in Ontario. It sports a combination of colours with dark-brown ear, nose wing, and tail contrasting with a reddish brown forearm and tri-coloured (dark brown at the bottom, yellowish in the middle and dusky grey at the top) hairs on the back. This little bat loses a much as 30% of its body mass in the winter but when it eats it can replace 25% of its body fat in just 30 minutes!
The Eastern Small-footed bat is Ontario’s smallest bat. This winged mammal has a mixture of yellowish brown, coppery brown and whitish colours. It sports a masked look created by dark hairs around its eyes and muzzle.
The Eastern Red bat is quite colourful with fur ranging in colour from yellowish orange to red. This bat eats a lot, consuming the equivalent of half its body mass per night.
Of all these bat species, only two, the Little brown and the Big brown have a tendency to frequent homes. The remainder stick to wildlife zones and green spaces. For this purpose, the big brown and little brown are the most well- known bats in the province.
Ontario’s Endangered Bats
All the species that hibernate in caves are under threat from the white-nose syndrome, a disease that eats away at the bats’ fat stores and ultimately kills them. The big brown bat is therefore safe from the disease since it stays away from those areas, preferring to hibernate in homes.
Additionally, in Ontario, the little brown bat is officially recognized by the authorities as being endangered. Other bats on the endangered species list are the Northern Myotis and the Tri-coloured bat. It is illegal to kill these animals even if they have encroached on your property.
Pushing Back Against Bat Species Depletion
If you find yourself in the throes of a bat problem, do not resort to harmful measures. Contact Skedaddle and let us use our tested and proven humane bat exclusion techniques to resolve the matter in a way that leaves you satisfied without endangering these precious critters.