Jubilee Wetland is going batty -- and that's a good thing!
Bats – the kind that live in our area – are voracious insectivores. As dusk settles in, the bats emerge and begin eating insects. An ordinary brown bat, according to the website “Wildlife Education and Directory of Wildlife Experts,” can eat up to 1,200 insects per hour – and up to 100% of its body weight in insects in one night!
If you are out in the evening and detect a bat or two near your head, be at ease and please don’t thrash around or try to hit them: the bats aren’t after you – they’re keeping you safer from insect bites. They’re hunting the insects that are after your blood. Bat sonar is very effective, so they’re extremely unlikely to get caught in your hair, especially if you don’t make sudden moves. Just stay still and let the bats eat those bugs!
Gardeners take note: agricultural experts now realize that bats eat many crop-damaging insects, too.
Jubilee Wetland will now have three new homes available for any bats who may be interested in eating our local mosquitos and other night-flying insects.
Three bat houses were raised on Friday by the Rossland Society for Environmental Action in the Jubilee Wetland. The project used repurposed, unwanted flag poles from the Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre. Bats are a valued component of the Jubilee Wetland ecosystem as they will help keep the insect population in check. RSEA is hopeful that these bat condos will attract local bats to a new roosting site. There are plans to monitor the bat activity by a wildlife camera next July.
For more information on bats, get “The Secret Lives of Bats” by Merlin Tuttle; it’s an engaging and fascinating read.
Many thanks go out to funders Mindful Mountain Yoga, Seven Summits School, BC Kootenay Bats and Columbia Basin Trust for their monetary contribution to buy materials for the project. Thanks to Rossland Museum, City of Rossland Public Works, Jareth Jackman of SPL & RSS Teacher Laura Jackman, XL Welding, and friends of RSEA for in-kind donation of materials and labour.