Sunday, September 16, 2012

More Bats In The Belfry

I did an earlier post about the little 
brown bat that has been coming to the cabin
for the last three years during the summer
months.  He makes his home between the
 floor joist underneath our back deck, always
 choosing the very same spot.

He doesn't bother us and we don't
bother him.
To our surprise, the bat population
underneath the deck is growing.  He now
shares his spot with several of his friends.
This bat has taken up residence
at the other end of the deck,
  plus this one,
 and these two.  Oh my!

Bats of Missouri: Information for Homeowners

Robert A. Pierce II
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
Richard L. Clawson
Missouri Department of Conservation
Bats are unique and interesting animals. Because of their nocturnal nature and widespread misconceptions about them, they are the subject of myths and folklore that make them one of the most mysterious and misunderstood mammals. The presence of a bat in a house causes more alarm than does any other wildlife species.
These fears are unwarranted. Contrary to what you may have heard:
  • Very few bats become rabid (less than half of 1 percent).
  • Bat droppings in buildings usually are not a source of histoplasmosis.
  • Bats are not filthy and will not infest homes with dangerous parasites.
  • Bats are not aggressive and will not attack people or pets.
  • Missouri bats do not feed on blood. (Vampire bats, which do feed on blood, live in Latin America.)
Like all wildlife, bats have their place in the natural world and should not be killed indiscriminately. This publication provides some answers for Missouri homeowners on managing bat problems. It also provides information on how to attract bats to your property.
All wildlife species are protected by Missouri law; it is illegal to kill any bat in Missouri unless it is damaging your property. Two Missouri bats are classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered species and need protection to survive environmental disturbances caused by humans. Nonlethal controls are recommended for managing bat problems in a house.

Little Brown Bat

Myotis lucifugus
Vespertilionidae (evening bats) in the order Chiroptera
The little brown bat is a small (less than 4-inch) bat that usually roosts in caves in groups of 20, has dark glossy brown fur on its back, and has ears 5/8 inch long or less that are narrow, naked, with bluntly rounded tips. The back fur is two-toned: blackish or dark gray at the base and brown toward the tips. The wing and tail membranes and the ears are glossy dark brown. There are 6 species of Myotis in Missouri, and they require close examination to be distinguished from each other.
Total length: 3–3¾ inches; tail length: 1¼–1¾ inches; weight: ¼ ounce.
Habitat and conservation:
When feeding, they prefer borders between open areas and denser cover where flying insects are plentiful. Winter hibernation is in limestone caves and mines, mostly in the Ozark Highland. In spring they disperse up to 620 miles. In spring and summer the females live in nursery colonies in cliff crevices and hollow trees, under loose bark, in attics and other undisturbed retreats. Males are solitary or live in colonies up to 20 in similar protected sites, including under siding and shingles.
Only insects are eaten, particularly winged adult forms in flight: mayflies, mosquitoes, beetles, flies, caddis flies, lacewings, stone flies, and moths. Little brown bats feed heavily, consuming half their body weight in a night.
Distribution in Missouri:
Widely distributed throughout the state but no longer common in any one place.
No longer common in any one place; populations are declining.
Life cycle:
In this species, mating is in fall before hibernation, during winter if bats become active and in spring after hibernation. The ovum undergoes no change during winter, even if the female has mated, but after hibernation ends, it is shed from the ovary and fertilization follows. Only one egg matures per year, so only a single young can be produced annually. Most young are born by mid-June and are weaned in about 6 weeks. Young are most vulnerable during the first few weeks of life.
Human connections:
Bats help control insects, some of which are agricultural pests or are annoying to man (such as mosquitoes). Bats have contributed much to human knowledge through scientific studies of their echolocation, biology and physiology. Bats are protected by both state and federal laws.
Ecosystem connections:
As predators, bats help to hold insect populations in balance; also, many forms of cave-dwelling life depend on the nutrients brought in by bats and released from their guano (feces).


  1. that is very interesting Sherri. We see little bats here late in afternoon or almost night. Tiny bats. It's a shame people want to kill off everything. We saw a big black snake on our walk a week or two ago. My husband wanted to kill it. I told him to let it be, let it go. We can't just kill creatures because we see them. Good post. martha

  2. Good for you - protecting the bats. For Martha -- black snakes are GOOD. They eat mice and keep out other bad snakes. We have them here and always leave them alone to do their 'thing'.

  3. Interesting post, Sherri. When I was a child, on summer evenings we would watch bats darting this way and that as they were feeding on insects. Now, we hardly ever see one. Our son gave us a couple of bat "houses" which we need to get in place soon.

  4. Bats are interesting careful allowing them to stay under your home. Just like any wild creature.......they will soon become quite a large colony. Bat droppings accumulate and can cause illness to humans. You might want to pen off this opening after this group leaves and find other places for them to come to. Loved your post!

  5. They're so cute! Well, you know what I mean. I love bats. I'm glad your local bat population is growing--it means fewer bugs for you!

  6. They look like cute little fuzzy hamsters close up, but I would probably scream if they started flying around!! lol

  7. So CUUUUTE!!!! Bats are also the only creature that pollenates the agave plant. Which is used to make tequila. That's my go-to when telling people how awesome bats are xD
    Love your post, and your dolls! :)


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