Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)

Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

International Bat Appreciation Day is to take place April 17, which aligns with the signal for the hibernating winged-creatures to wake up and take to the air: spring.

That means residents may be seeing more of the tiny mammals on and around their property in the coming days.

In mid-April, Metro Vancouver bats start migrating from their winter hibernaculum to their summer habitat, a news release from Community Bat Programs of BC explained.

During this time, bats are often reported above people’s doorways and in other nooks and crannies near their property.

“Please allow the bats to stay and rest,” the release said. “They need to replenish their fat reserves after hibernating and females are preparing for pregnancy.”

RELATED: Fungus could ‘drastically’ affect White Rock-area bat populations: researchers

The bats will feed on insects for a few nights then continue their journey to their summer habitat.

South Surrey-White Rock has long been a significant area for those studying bat behaviour.

In January, the Bat Program said residents of White Rock, South Surrey, Delta, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack are “key to helping our programs monitor (white nose syndrome),” which threatens the local bat population.

White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that kills a large number of bats each winter and has caused three Canadian bat species to become endangered. The syndrome, which has been found in Washington State but not yet in B.C., makes communities neighbouring the border a point of interest.

Residents can report known roost sites, dead bats, and unusual late winter/early spring bat behaviour, such as bats flying during the daytime, to vancouver@bcbats.ca or 1-855-922-2287 ext. 11.



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

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