Bats are the only mammals capable of true sustained flight. They have a thin membrane spread over their forelimbs that allows the bat to fly. Other "flying" mammals like the Flying Squirrel are capable only of gliding short distances. Bats are beneficial as they consume large amounts of insects thus reducing the use of pesticides.
Bat wings are much thinner than that of birds making them able to maneuver more rapidly and accurately in the air than birds. The membrane between their digits can regenerate and small tears heal very quickly.
Bats represent about 20% of all mammal species with approximately 1,420 species worldwide. Bats are classified into 2 suborders: Megabats and microbats. Megabats are largely fruit eating and microbats consume mostly insects. 70% of bats are insectivores while most of the remaining are fruit eaters. There are some bats that eat fish and frogs and, of course, the Vampire Bat that feeds exclusively on blood.
Wing spans can range anywhere from 5 inches (Kitti's Hog Nose Bat) all the way up to 5 feet (Golden Flying Fox). Microbats (i.e., the Little Brown Bat) are highly specialized and use echo-location, similar to sonar, to navigate and to locate food. Megabats (Golden Flying Fox) rely on their sense of smell to hunt and navigate primarily by sight.
Bats perform important roles in nature by pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds.
Because of their ability to fly, bats have become one of the most widely distributed groups of mammals on Earth. Except for the polar regions and a few scattered islands, they exist all over the world. Bats live in every available habitat on earth from deserts to tropical rain forests.
They typically will reside in caves where they have access to water, safe places to hide from predators during the day, and plenty of food. Large colonies of bats often form and you will rarely find just a few of them in a given location.
Sometimes abandoned mine shafts offer the right environment for bats to colonize. Under bridges is another common location for bats to be found. This offers them the idea environment and they are free from predators. They don’t have to worry about too much disruption from humans in such an area either. They will roost under large trees that have full branches and leaves in many areas. These trees help them to stay well hidden from an array of predators.
This type of environment can prove to be a problem though. For example, bats are fond of roosting in trees in public parks or wildlife locations. Humans often use these areas for camping, bird watching, star gazing, and even outdoor events such as concerts. The last thing they want are bats flying about after the sun goes down.
Bats also live in many other dark and safe structures. For example they can get into your chimney, the attic, and into old abandoned buildings. At night they go out in various directions but they will continue to come back to that same colony when they are ready to rest.
Bats roosting on insulation in attic
Bat Guano (droppings) on attic floor
Bats As Nuisance Pests
Bats are classified as a nuisance animal when they occupy human dwellings. People want to get rid of bats when they decide to invade attics and sheds. The large numbers in colonizing bats species quickly begin depositing an accumulation of guano (bat droppings) which is unsanitary, and serves as an excellent breeding ground for a fungal disease called histoplasmosis, which is transferable to humans who breathe in the fungal spores from their fecal deposits. Bats are also known to carry rabies, a viral disease that causes progressive paralysis and death in mammals, including humans. For these reasons alone it is wise to get rid of any bats in the attic or anywhere else they may be in your home or business.
I Have Bats: Are They Dangerous? What Do I Do?
There are many places around the home that bats roost (rest) in between shifts feeding on insects. If you actually observe bats in the attic or see them entering or exiting through vents in your attic or other areas of your home you probably want to know how to get rid of bats. Though bats are beneficial they are not always the most pleasant housemates to have around. Bats are rabies carriers and their droppings (guano) are not only unsightly but contain disease vectors that are damaging to human health.
Bats themselves pose little threat to a homeowner. There is risk of fungal disease from their guano (droppings) which, if breathed in, can cause lung impairments. Bats also carry parasites which have their own set of diseases associated with them.
The risk of rabies is relatively low estimated at .5% by the Centers for Disease Control. That breaks down to approx. 1 bat in 200 that will carry the disease. It doesn't sound like much but rabies is fatal in humans without immediate treatment.
Bats can get everywhere. In the video below, a nurse runs from a bat on the 8th floor of a hospital.
Pest Control and Exterminator Services
In Georgia and Alabama
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