Best Bat House What house should you get for your "flying mammal pet"?

Bats come in a number of species, and they are a great natural method of pest control. They are protected by most states in America, and this means that they are not allowed to be kept as pets unless at wildlife sanctuaries, zoos, and research facilities. Because bats are wild creatures, they thrive best when left alone. However, you can get some bats to live near your house while not interfering with their normal lives by installing a bat house for them.

best garden bat house

Where do Bats Live?

Bats usually shelter in dark places such as caves, crevices, and attics. This is because they hibernate during the day and only go out at night. Most species live in colonies of more than a million bats, but some prefer a solitary life and will be found roosting alone.

Since bats are blind, they rely on sound to survive. They determine the location and distance of an insect or object through a process known as echolocation. This helps them to know where to avoid, their speed and where to get their flying meals. It is therefore advisable that the bat house has echo-locator slot to help them with this.

During winter some bat species hibernate while others migrate to warmer places in order to survive. You will also find a species that go into regulated hypothermia which lasts between a few hours to a few months (also known as torpor)

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Bat House

Size

Bats are small animals, and they, therefore, do not require room-sized shelters. They do however need shelters that are spacious enough to hold a number of them comfortably. This is because bats prefer to live in colonies

Price

Bat houses in the market have different prices depending on the company that builds them, the materials used in construction, and the size of these houses. You can go for the one that you can afford to, be it large or small as long as the house meets the required standards.

Wood Treatment

This refers to the stain applied to the interior and exterior of the bat house. Wood treatment depends on the temperature of the place you live in. You should go for houses with darker colors if your area receives less sun and vice versa.

Construction

Ideal bat houses are the ones that will not allow other birds to nest inside them. Bats also have a lot of predators, and the houses should, therefore, be able to protect them from these predators. This means that they should have solid construction.

The bat house should also be sturdy in that they should be able to withstand harsh climates and the roofs should be galvanized metal to prevent water from getting in.

bat close up

Timing

You can install a bat house at any time of the year, but it is best to do it before evicting bats from their previous habitat. This should be done a few weeks before the eviction so that the bats get the chance to explore their new possible habitat. Bat houses can also be mounted before their first summer when bats return.

Mounting a Bat House

You should install your new bat house on a location where bats can easily move to after being evicted from their current habitat. The house should be mounted on a building or a pole where they will get enough exposure to sunlight. The bat house should be installed at least 12 feet from the ground. You should avoid placing the bat house near tree branches, wires, and other places that predators can easily use to access the house. You should also install the bat house near a stream or a pond since bats also need to drink water.

Maintaining a Bat House

A bat house needs to be maintained regularly if you want the bats to keep returning. This includes cleaning out wasps nest, sealing areas of leakages and repainting when necessary. Maintenance should be done during winter when the bats and wasps have departed the house for warmer places.

How to Attract Bats

Bats usually find new roosts by themselves by using echolocation, and it is therefore quite difficult to lure them into bat houses. They are excellent at detecting caves, and crevices to roost in. Relocating bats to new places will most likely not succeed because bats have strong homing instincts and they will try to find their way back to their former habitats.

A good house that will attract bats is one that is designed and built to accommodate the bats’ needs. The house should have an open bottom to prevent bat droppings from accumulating inside it and also prevent birds from nesting there. This also means that the bat house should be placed away from windows, doors, porches, and other places that people frequent.

Top 10 Best Bat Houses

Bottom Line

With one or more of these bat houses you can be assured that the notorious mosquitoes and other small insects in your backyard will be dealt with. You can get a large or a small bat house depending on how big the colony is. You can also go for a more natural looking house to blend with your backyard. It is important to note that bats may not necessarily move in immediately as some may take up to even a year.

Sources and further readings:

  1. YouTube,Bat Conservation International

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