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Young bats looking for new homes can wind up in strange places

Bat season is upon us

It's bat season in the Okanagan.

Late summer and early fall is when bats start to get active and it turns out, it could be the young ones out stretching their wings.

According to Ella Braden, regional coordinator with the Okanagan Community Bat Program, these bats are often pups spreading their wings and learning to fly.

That's why home-owners may find bats flying around their houses, occasionally in the house or ground, roosting in an unusual location. 

Braden says there is no need to be alarmed because these pups are often born in late June and learn to fly in July and August. They then move out on their own in late summer or the fall.

“When pups are learning to fly, their early efforts may land them in locations where they are more likely to come in contact with humans“, says Ella Braden, regional coordinator with the Okanagan Community Bat Program. “If they are in a safe location, out of the way of people and pets, you can leave them alone they will move off on their own within days.” 

Barden reminds people, "if you find a bat, alive or dead, never touch it with your bare hands."

Bats in BC have very low levels of rabies infection, but any risk of transmission shouldn't be taken lightly. Contact Public Health, Health Link 811, a doctor or veterinarian if a person or pet could have come into direct contact possibly bitten or scratched by a bat.

Having bats is viewed as a benefit by some landowners, who appreciate the insect control, others, not so much.

However, under the BC Wildlife Act, it is illegal to exterminate or harm bats. Exclusion work, which includes covering openings bats use to enter with netting or tubes, can only be done in the fall and winter after it is determined that the bats are no longer in the building. 

One of the largest bat colonies in the Okanagan is in Peachland near the downtown visitor centre.



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