We get a lot of questions about bats by email. Here are some of the most common ones, along with the most common answers.
In your backyard and beyond!
For those times when these fascinating critters are a little too close for comfort.
Although often exaggerated, loveable bats can pose a threat to human health.
Find out about programs the Society offers for the public.
For answers to more questions and to ask your own, join the Colorado Bat Society email list, where Coloradans of all ages chat about bats. Questions asked on the email list usually get at least one answer within hours!
Q: We don't have bats near our house, and we want some. How can I attract them?
A: Getting bats to move into the neighborhood is a pretty hit-and-miss prospect, if you don't already have them nearby. You can buy or build a bat box (a small wooden house for bats), but there are no guarantees you'll get any bats. If you want to buy a bat box, check out the Wild Bird Center in Boulder or Wild Birds Unlimited in Denver. If you want to build a bat box, one of the most popular how-to books is The Bat House Builder's Handbook.
Q: I bought a bat house. Do you have any suggestions where I should place it in my yard?
A: Here's some great advice from one bat enthusiast: Bat houses should be mounted on buildings or poles. Houses mounted on trees or metal siding are seldom used. Wooden, brick, or stone buildings with proper solar exposure are excellent choices, and locations under the eaves often are successful. Economy houses work best when mounted on buildings. Mounting two bat houses back to back on poles is ideal (face one house north, the other south). Place houses 3/4 inch apart and cover both with a galvanized metal roof to protect the center roosting space from rain. All bat houses should be mounted at least 12 feet above ground; 15 to 20 feet is better. Bat houses should not be lit by bright lights. Houses mounted on sides of buildings or on metal poles provide the best protection from predators. Metal predator guards may be helpful, especially on wooden poles. Bat houses may be found more quickly if located along forest or water edges where bats tend to fly; however, they should be placed at least 20 to 25 feet from the nearest tree branches, wires or other potential perches for aerial predators.
Q: Where can I find bats in Colorado?
A: Fortunately for bat lovers, bats live all over the state! They can be found in wooded areas at elevations up to 10,000 feet. They can be found on farms in the plains. And they can be found in urban and suburban areas. You'll find bats just about any place that has a good supply of flying bugs, a nice water supply, and a place to roost during the day. Look for them near large bodies of water right at dusk in the summertime. If you just can't find any in your part of the state, send an email to the Colorado Bat Society email list and ask if there's anyone in your neighborhood who has seen some.
Q: We have bats in our attic, and we don't want them. How can we get rid of them?
A: Well, you could call an exterminator, but we sure don't recommend that! A much better approach is to wait until winter when the bats move out, and then seal off whatever entrance they're using to get in.
See our Got Bats? page for more information on humane exclusion service providers.
Q: Someone in our family found a bat - what should we do?
A: In most cases, just leave it alone!
- In the summer months, bats often roost on the outside of buildings (they love brick and natural wood walls) during the day. Just let it sleep and that night it will go fly off to eat some bugs.
- If you've got a bat flying around indoors, don't panic! The bat is probably about twice as scared of you as you are of it. If you can open some windows or doors, just let your visitor fly on out. If that doesn't work, put on some thick gloves and scoop the bat up in a towel or a bucket, then take it outside.
- Finally, if you see a bat on the ground, stay away from it and keep your pets and children away, too. The bat may be sick, and it may scratch or even bite you if you try to pick it up.
Q: Do bats carry disease?
A: Just like any wild animal, some bats do have diseases. Some of them have fleas, but not the same kind of fleas that dogs or cats have. Some of them have rabies (far fewer than you probably think) and some have histoplasmosis.
Q: What about vampire bats?
A: There really are such things as vampire bats that drink blood of animals and even people. However, they all live in Central America and South America. You won't find a vampire bat anywhere near Colorado, except maybe at the zoo.
Q: When is the next bat talk or bat walk?
A: Stay tuned to the home page of this website for info about upcoming events. Like bats, the Colorado Bat Society is pretty dormant over the winter. We usually have a half dozen programs every summer in the Denver/Boulder area.