The Science and Prayer of Attracting
Bats to A New Bat House
How To Start A Bat Colony
Experimentally, they have been vaccinated against rabies (ref)
To see what other wildlife receive in the way of vaccinations, click on the ark.
R.S.Hines DVM PhD
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There was a time, when I lived in Sarasota Florida, that I kept bats. I had a captive colony of several hundred egyptian fruit-eating bats. But I also attempted to establish a colony of American freetail bats (Tadarida brasiliensis). There were large colonies of these bats in the attics of appartments all around Sarasota and Bradenton. I did not have long term sucess in moving them far from existing colonies. But I did make some observations that might be helpful to you.
Good bat house plans are available through Bat Conservation International in Austin, Texas BCI. An excellent publication, Fact Sheets ENY-272 & 268 on the subject is available from the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service, Gainesville, FL, 32611. I generally make my bat houses from discarded 3/8” x 6” Florida cypress planks that I obtain free at a fencing company. They are rough-cut so the bats can scurry up them and need no preservatives. I line them with plastic lanai screen (screen-porch screen) that I staple onto the cypress. A screen or carpet “skirt” hangs below the bottom opening to assist the bats in entering. Be sure that the entrance crack is no wider than ¾ inch, or English sparrows will take up residence. I place them under the eves of existing buildings or on poles that are a minimum of 20’ tall. Others place them in trees but colony bats avoid areas that are cluttered with branches.
It’s my observation, that at the end of the breeding season, a portion of the young bats born that year, look for new nesting sites. This is why all the bats brought to me which have invaded rooms or homes recently are young-of-the-year bats. They can live about 12 years and never seem inclined to move on their own after their first summer.
Some colonies must have alternative roosts in my area because some weeks they do not return to a given location. And then, a few days later, the whole colony is back. Florida Free-tail colonies appear to swell in population in the winter. Perhaps additional bats migrate to these colonies from more northern States.
When I put up bat excluders , the colony moves to the nearest available nitch. The successful relocation of bats at Gainesville by Mr. Ken Glover, to a specifically dedicated barn-like shingled “house” on telephone poles, occurred only after he had chased them out and sealed all openings on all campus building over a two-year period. Bats are stubborn and perfidious. A woman who has devoted her life to understanding freetail bats is Amanda Loller. She is located in Mineral Wells Texas. Ms. Loller knows more about hands-on work with colony bats than anyone else in the World. Perhaps she knows some secrets that I don’t that will help you.