Bats are one of the few mammals known to feed on blood, which has led to many misconceptions about the warm-blooded animals. They possess the unique ability to ‘see’ through echolocation, in which they emit high-frequency sounds to analyze the location of objects based on bouncing sound waves.
Desmodus rotundus (Common vampire bat)
Bats are warm-blooded mammals, and the only such species naturally capable of true and sustained flight. They’re the second largest order of mammals on the planet (after pesky rodents!), comprising 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide.
The smallest bats can be as tiny as 5.9 inches in wingspan, with the largest species spanning a daunting 1.7 metres! The Mexican free-tailed bat is the fastest flying animal in horizontal flight.
Bats play a significant role in ecology, pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds, with some plants depending entirely on bats for seed distribution. They also consume insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides.
The mammals use echolocation – or sound waves – to find food, and can eat up to three times their body weight in insects.
While most roost in caves and cliffs, bats can make themselves comfortable in homes, too. Bats in house are not uncommon, with bat infestations regularly flourishing in homes – particularly in the attic. Bats in the attic quickly get settled around the consistent temperatures and dark harbourages offered, leading to large colonies that can cause damage to your home, and pose health risks.
Bat proofing or bat removal should be approached with extreme caution – these mammals may carry the rabies virus. Among reported cases of rabies in wildlife, bats, skunks, foxes, and raccoons are the most common.
If you have bats in the attic, you should perform a full inspection of your building. This helps determine where the bat infestation entered your home from, which you can seal post bat removal.
The best way to get rid of bats in the attic is exclusion – it’s important that you do not try to trap them. Let them fly out of your home naturally, rather than forcing them out through capturing and trapping. Bats will need water and insects eventually, so excluding them is the safest option for both homeowner and pest.