Allegedly, bats have a bad reputation: people often relate them with negative images like bloodsuckers, vampires, etc. Rumors and horror stories have given these amazing mammals a bad rap. Many people are afraid of bats, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. Though often detested for their horrible-looking appearances, bats are a truly good friend of humans, and they play an important part in the ecosystem. Fruit-eating bats are principal pollinators of seeds and fruits, and without them, some species may go extinct. As a fierce insect killer, they can eat a considerable number of night-flying insects in an hour of feeding, which highly reduces the use of chemicals in agriculture. Bat droppings are also an excellent fertilizer.
But the number of bats over the world is in decline, it’s time when we should give them the respect they deserve and pay close attention to their survival rates. Bat watching is not only an amusing activity that everybody could share but also a valuable chance we can take to gain a better understanding of these friendly mammals.
Top Bat-Spotting Tips
The best time of the year for bat watch is summer when bats are most active. The emergence time of bats varies by species, but most can be observed during summer and autumn when they’ve returned from months of hibernation. In the early spring, some species will swarm out hunting for insects. Bats don’t build their own roosts. They take advantage of structures that already exist, like trees, crevices, roof voids and bat boxes, but the desired bat roost is never easy to find, and sometimes it’ll take months. Although bats’ mating season usually begins in autumn, to prepare for maternity, the female will search for roosting places in early summer. They will gather together to make a maternity roost where they can rear the young.
1.Find a dark place: Bats prefer to fly in the dark. Since bats are nocturnal mammals, they would avoid any well-lit places and bright street lighting. Do some search in advance to find out where the bats are frequenting as the daylight fades out. A bat detector will be of great help when searching for bats at night and an audio recorder is ideal for plugging into your bat detector and recording the bat calls. A head torch is also recommended to keep your hands free when navigating in the dark.
2.Arrive before sunsets. Bats are most active in the summer months, from May to August in particular, even though you may have the chance to see them in winter. The best time for bat watching is around sunset when thousands of bats pour out for hunting. The emergency times may vary, but most species will come out approximately 30 minutes after the sunsets. Wait patiently, be quiet and embrace the wonder of wilderness with these nighttime gliders.
3.Go out on warm, dry and still nights. Bats do not like to go out when it’s cold and wet since humidity could mess up with their echolocation system and they have to work harder to fly when their fur and wings get wet which means they will use more energy for hunting. By the way, as temperature drops, bugs will go away, resulting in a scarce food source. So if you venture out searching for bats on a wet, rainy day, believe me, you won’t have any luck.
Ethics of Watching Bats
Here are some things you should pay close attention to when conducting a bat watch.
1.Try to avoid direct contact. Bats are normally not aggressive but it doesn’t mean you can handle them directly. If you happen to encounter one during bat watching, be careful then and don’t try to touch it barehanded – it’s too risky! Anyone who touched or had direct contact with bats may have a chance of getting rabies – who knows if a bat carries the virus. The rabies virus can be transmitted by a bite or scratch from the infected bats or from its saliva, which can be fatal if the symptoms start.
2.Keep disturbance to minimum. Bats rely mostly on their sense of hearing for survival. They have sharper hearing than humans, so when conducting a bat watching, try to keep your voice down because the impact of noise on animals will be greater than that experienced by humans. Moreover, bats use the echolocation system to navigate while noises could interfere with their abilities to find their prey. So try to keep the noise pollution to a minimum.
3.Don’t try to feed a bat. Even if it’s an act of kindness, we do not recommend you feed a bat in the wilderness. Unlike pets raised in captivity, wild animals always carry some sort of virus. If you get bit or scratched, chances are higher that you may get affected. As previously mentioned, the virus can be transmitted via saliva and blood. Moreover, it’s a terrible practice and you may jeopardize their diet systems if you don’t know what they can eat or cannot eat. In a word, it’s harmful to both of you.
Bat Watching Goes Online…
Summer is prime time for roosting. Even if it’s not summertime yet, you’d better get prepared now. Installing a bat box in your garden provides our friendly pollinators with a comfortable shelter and helps you get rid of those annoying bugs and mosquitoes. In the late spring, bats will return from hibernation to the roosting sites, so it’s highly recommended to get your bat boxes ready for their arrivals. The earlier in the season you have your bat house installed, the more likely bats will be to find your bat house and settle there since it sometimes takes a few years for bats to find your bat box. But during the breeding season, bats are very sensitive and will sometimes abandon their children if they are disturbed. If you want to catch a glimpse into the secret lives of roosting bats, we would recommend you to install a wildlife camera to spy on these adorable creatures. Green Backyard has launched a new collection of outdoor wildlife cameras that allow you to monitor bats remotely on your smartphone, tablet, or PC from the comfort of your home.
Why Do You Need a WiFi Wildlife Camera for Bat Monitoring?
A WiFi wildlife camera is game-changing for remote wildlife observation. Compared with traditional models, it can work well anywhere in the world with a network connection, which dramatically lowers the volume of network cabling and reduces the installation cost. It also supports 24/7 live streaming: download a free app and then you can watch live shows on your smartphone or tablet. Equipped with a higher frame rate and advanced motion sensors, it can capture various objects in motion in great detail.
Originally designed for bird watching, this waterproof bird box camera can be repurposed for wildlife observation. IP66-rated waterproof, it can work reliably in any outdoor environment. Coming in a compact size, it can easily fit in any standard-sized bat box. The most obvious advantage is that it supports round-the-clock live streaming via the Internet to allow you to watch live videos on your phone, tablet and PC without running additional network cables.
The waterproof bird box camera can produce 3MP high-definition images by day with vivid color reproduction. Backed up with a highly sensitive auto ICR switch, the night vision LEDs can be manually and automatically turned on when the night falls to generate crisp B&W videos of the hedgehogs. It has a 2.5mm wide-angle lens with an adjustable focus to offer a wider field of view (120°) and capture higher levels of detail inside the hedgehog house. Push message notification is also available at every trigger event once the motion sensor detects any changes inside the nest box. This model also supports local storage with an SD card to allow you to playback the footage whenever you want.
Bats mostly live in woodlands, suburbans, riversides, etc., but you still find some wandering in local parks, at a distance normally out of your WiFi range. This long range wireless versatile IP camera supports wireless data transmission up to 300 meters in a direct line of sight to allow you to position the camera at any desired places (local parks, forests, natural habits, etc.). The improved network performance secures smooth live streaming and sharing over the Internet without severe signal degradation. It supports various power options, allowing you to install the camera in any desired location.
The long-range wireless versatile IP camera employs a 2.5mm wide-angle, adjustable lens that gives you the best perspective inside the nest box while maintaining high-quality color images and clear audio. The invisible infrared LEDs help to deliver crisp infrared images at night without giving off glaring red lights. Real-time videos can be accessed anytime and anywhere with a WiFi connection. Motion detection is available with instant message notifications at every trigger event. This model can also work with dual-band routers/mesh WiFi (2.4Ghz) with no problems.