Time to remove bats

If
there are bats in your belfry it’s time to get them out.

Baby
bat pups are typically born in May and if bats are left in buildings throughout
the Cayman Islands, that’s where the babies will be birthed.

For
help removing bats permanently and humanely, call the Bat Conservation Program
at 916-6784, the Wildlife Hotline at 917-BIRD, the National Trust at 749-1121
or contact info@caymanwildlife.org  Bats not out
before the deadline cannot be properly removed until November.

To
find out if there are bats in your building, go outside at dusk, just after
sunset, but while the sky is still light, and watch. If you see bats emerging,
do not plug the hole. Plugging holes can trap bats inside, forcing them into
your living areas. Bats can be sealed out using simple methods and volunteers
are available to advise and/or recommend qualified professionals to
assist.  

Bats
give birth to only one pup per year. Bat-pups cannot fly for several months and
remain in the roost while their mothers go out to catch insects. For this
reason, exclusions are not done during the summer when these flightless young
are present. Often people don’t realise that they have bats in the roof until
summer when they hear the young ones squeaking as the mothers return to nurse
them in the quiet pre-dawn hours. To avoid the long waiting period, the Bat
Conservation Program is hoping to reach everyone with this message in time so
that bats can be moved before the mid-May deadline.

“Bats
are harmless. Each one eats up to 2,000 mosquitoes and other insects, including
crop and garden pests, every night. But, they should still be moved out of
roofs to avoid odour problems. We want to help get bats out of houses and calm
fears.” stated Lois Blumenthal, coordinator of the Caribbean Bat Conservation
Project for Bat Conservation International (www.batcon.org)
and director of the Bat Conservation Program for the National Trust. “Our goal
is for all bats to live in bat houses and no more bats in roofs.”

With
the cooperation of Caribbean Utilities Co Ltd, Ron Moser’s Machine Shop and
extensive volunteer labour, there are over 80 bat houses in all districts of
Grand Cayman. They provide alternative habitat to help to keep bats from moving
into roofs. Bat houses are a great success but bats won’t move out of roofs
without exclusion.

Bats
are part of the balance of nature and helpful to humans in many ways, notably,
the control of insects but they are also important pollinators and seed
dispersers. Bats living in roofs are always insect-eating species. Fruit bats
have never been found in roofs here and do not use bat houses. Bat houses can
only provide habitat for three of the Cayman Islands’ nine species. The other
bat species need forest and cave habitat to survive.

For free information, a map of Cayman Islands bat
house locations, photos of local bats, or to download an educational slide show
about the Cayman Islands Bat Project, visit www.caymanwildlife.org  The National Trust Educational Program
Manager visits local schools with a presentation about Cayman Islands Bats and
free information is also available on www.nationaltrust.org.ky

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