Going batty in Peachland
Jun 14, 2012 / 1:25 pm
Peachland is home to a number of creatures, big and small and some even hang upside down . . . . bats.
Currently, there are thousands of them living in the old school house near the Peachland Community Centre, and the city is happy to have them.
"In fact, they're really cute creatures," says Peachland Mayor Keith Fielding.
Discovered years ago, they hide in the attic and their numbers are impressive.
Rob Campbell, President of the Peachland Chamber of Commerce says they were told by a senior biologist that the colony is one of the largest in BC.
But bats come with a reputation, creating fears that they will give you rabies or conjuring images of blood sucking vampires. Campbell feels that's unfair.
"You're going to get struck by lightning first, before you're every going to get bit by a rabies bat."
Since their discovery, Peachland has embraced the bats, not only because they are a protected species, but also because of what they eat.
"That's why Peachland is mosquito free," says Fielding. A single bat can eat two-thirds of its body weight in mosquitoes.
Of course, what goes in must come out.
In a bat's case, it's called "guano," and it's for sale.
"We sell it through our Peachland Visitor's Centre as fertilizer. It's the best natural fertilizer on the planet.
But Peachland's prized bat colony could be in jeopardy due to a fungus called White Nose which has killed millions of bats throughout North America, including Canada.
The fungus grows on their nose and they end up dying.
White Nose has shown up in bat colonies in five provinces, but has yet to make its way to BC.
Peachland Councillor Cindy Fortin says that's a relief for Peachland because the last thing they want is to lose their bat colony.
"They say we're batty in Peachland, but proud of it," says Fortin.
Read more Central Okanagan articles
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Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central Okanagan Regional District
District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
School District 23
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