12 June 2010

Just A Pup

We have a large barn on our property that is home to what seems to be a healthy population of bats. Several people/groups rent space from us through the winter and into the spring to store their campers and trailers. We let the bats stay for free. Recently, one of our renters picked up their trailer, which had been stored for nearly a year with a tarp over it. When the tarp was removed, it was covered in guano, as expected. To our surprise, however, there was also an immature bat (known as a pup), most likely a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus), on the tarp.


To give an idea of scale, in the photographs above and below, I am wearing a standard leather work glove. Big Brown Bats are common and widespread in North America, as they are known from southern Canada through the United States, with the exception of south Florida and southcentral Texas. Big Brown Bats often overwinter in buildings, though some will migrate and overwinter in caves. During the summer, they roost in buildings or hollow trees. An impressive fact about the species is that they can fly up to 40 mph.


Bats are very beneficial, as they feed on insects including wasps, ants, and beetles, some of which are serious crop pests. No need to worry about this little one. Pups often fall from the roosting location; those that can climb are often retrieved by their mothers. I took this bat back into the barn and climbed a short distance up a ladder before putting the bat near a vertical beam. It immediately began climbing up towards the rafters.

Special thanks to my coworker Jeremy Sheets for providing his opinion that this likely is a Big Brown Bat.

10 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Scott .. thanks for this - so interesting .. I'm learning more and more .. so it was great to read this - and see the benefits they peform - we just simply don't realise the good they do ..

Wonderful blog you've got .. Thanks and have a fun weekend .. Hilary

Scott Namestnik said...

Thanks Hilary. Bats, like snakes and spiders, undeservingly have a bad reputation, but each of these groups fills an important ecological niche. In a human-centric world, they are also beneficial - just think of how many pests there would be without bats, snakes, and spiders to keep populations in check! Everything in our natural world is interwoven, and removing one member of this web can cause devastating changes.

Thanks for visiting our blog!

Beth said...

I love bats, and am constantly defending them to people who think they're creepy! They're amazing animals and very desirable to have on your property.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

We love watching the bats at dusk, swooping and snatching the bugs.

Scott Namestnik said...

Good to hear from you, Beth. It's been a while since you've commented on our blog. I'm glad that you understand and appreciate bats.

Scott Namestnik said...

I agree, Ken, that it's fun to watch bats at dusk. My coworker recently conducted a bat mist-netting demonstration; unfortunately, we didn't catch any bats (only one Tree Swallow). I once saw a bat chasing a large moth by a light on our property at dusk... pretty neat to see.

Carlynne said...

is there a way to attract bats to your property? I have an over abundance of yellow jackets and wasps, I'd love to have some more bats around. I see them on occasion but don't know where they're living.

David J Louise said...

Yes you can attract bats to your prop. by providing bat houses or boxes. Just google bat boxes and you should find plans and/or diagrams.
Also just two bats can eat thousands of bugs a night !!!

Scott Namestnik said...

Or build a big barn!!

Carlynne said...

thanks, I'll look into it!