They fly with their hands and they see with their ears
Bats are mammals that belong to the order of the Chiroptera. This Latin name literally means hand-wing and that’s correct; the wings of a bat are nothing else than extended hands with a flying skin between the fingers. Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly. Currently, there are about 1000 species of bats known worldwide. That is a lot; it means that a fourth of all mammal species on earth consists of bats. The majority of them are nocturnal animals and require special adjustments to be able to find their way at night and look for food.
There are fruit and nectar eating bats, insect eaters and even bats that hunt frogs, lizards and small mammals. In the tropics, where most species live, there are three species of vampire bats that parasite mammals (cattle and pigs) and birds, by making small wounds with their razor-sharp teeth and drinking the blood of the victim (which is not really affected by that). People are bitten occasionally.
In the Netherlands, we have 19 species of bats, although a number of them have grown rare. All Dutch species are insect eaters. A special adjustment of – mainly the insect eating bats – is the so-called echolocation. During flight, the animals are constantly producing ultrasonic sound. This sound, that people can’t hear, reflects off of all objects that the bat runs into and are then sent back to the ears of the bat. Based on this information, the bat can easily find its way back in utter darkness and is even able to localize and capture its prey (insects).
A common misconception is that bats are blind. Almost all bats have great eye sight, however are very near sighted. All Dutch bats get just one or – very rarely – two young per year. The trade-off is that bats can get very old, about 20 to 30 years. Most Dutch bats hibernate, just a few species go to warmer regions, just like birds.
Bats in the house
A number of bat species likes to use buildings for hibernation or to raise their young. In the latter case, we call this a maternity colony. A maternity colony consists of a group of female animals that jointly use an area to give birth to their young and to nurse them.
In general, the maternity colonies are the colonies that cause nuisance in buildings. The nuisance usually consists of noise, caused by the consistent chirping that often starts hours before they fly out and contamination of facades, cars etc with bat droppings. In most cases the use of buildings by bats s very seasonal. The bats have very different requirements for an area used as a maternity colony than on their winter quarters (hibernaculum).
Bats do not cause any damage. They won’t gnaw on anything and as far as we know, they don’t spread any diseases. Bats can be carriers of rabies however, but a bat that has rabies won’t go crazy and won’t bite without reason. Should you be bitten by a bat or you held a bat when you have a wound on your hand, you should get a rabies shot from the general practitioner.
Bats and the EWS
Bats are an endangered species and it is forbidden to kill, capture or even disturb bats. Moreover, bats are very useful animals that eliminate huge amounts of insects every night. Then why call a pest control company like the EWS when you have a bat situation? The EWS has the knowledge and experience to advise you on how to reduce the bat nuisance without harming the bats or violating the Law.