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using up fat reserves needed to survive long winters. Disturbances that cause bats to awaken and use fat stores can be fatal to the bat. Hibernating bats should be left alone.

Where do bats live?

Not

always

where

you

might think. A group of small-footed Myotis made their home in an underground tunnel at an inactive nuclear reactor in the state of Washington. Bats more typically live in abandoned mines, caves, on the underside of bridges, in trees, in crevices in old buildings

and

barns,

in

woodpecker

holes

in

trees,

occasionally in homes and attics, and in houses constructed especially for them.

bat

Bats and Rabies

All mammals, including bats,

can get

rabies. However, it is estimated that less than 1 percent of bats have rabies. The best way to avoid getting rabies from bats is never to pick up a bat, especially if you see one fluttering on the ground during the day

and it looks sick. (Volunteers professionals working with bats are

and often

required to get pre-exposure rabies shots.)

Bats in Houses

The two species of West Virginia bats most likely to enter homes are the little brown bat (also known as the little brown Myotis) and the big brown bat. The only way to keep a house free of bats is to block up the openings the bats are using. Openings must be blocked when the bats are not present. Bats may have young in the summer so it is best to block openings later when the bats have left. Netting can also be used to cover crevices in houses. Bats can slip under the netting to get out, but then they can’t fly back in the house.

If a bat gets into the house, one way to get it outside is to open a window or door and let it fly back outside.

4

If a colony of bats are to be removed from a home, attic, or barn, another place for the bats to roost such as a bat house should be considered.

Bat Boxes.

Bat boxes and

houses and

information on how to construct and care of them are available from such

take

organizations concerned about bats, such as

Bat Conservation wildlife agency.

International or your state Commercially purchased

bat boxes may

needs.

Size,

not provide for the bat’s interior construction, and

temperature control are important design elements

the three most of bat boxes. Bat

boxes should be installed well bats are shut out so bats can find

before the their new

home.

January

to

April

are

the

recommended times to install the boxes.

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