Badger State Barnfolk: Watch Out for Bats!
Do you have bats in your belfry? How about in your barn?
In Wisconsin, bat experts are keeping count of the nocturnal creatures that may nest in agricultural structures. In fact, the Wisconsin Bat Program has asked equestrian facility managers and other rural property owners to be on the lookout for bats in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Bat Program is actually conducting a statewide bat inventory. The study focuses on the locations and sizes of bat colonies, aiming at preventing the proliferation of white-nose disease (a fungal infection that is fatal among bats).
An online reporting form is available (from the Wisconsin Bat Program) for noting the presence of bats in a barn or another structure.
Stables, equestrian facilities, horse sheds and other rural shelters are popular bat domains.
Bats are nocturnal creatures, and they often seek sheltered spots for roosting. Stables, barns and farm buildings frequently may contain bats, particularly as outdoor temperatures drop during the colder months of the year.
In the Badger State, bats have also been frequently spotted in caves, churches, covered bridges, mines, schools and other facilities.
These bat species may be found in Wisconsin:
- Big brown bat (eptesicus fuscu)
- Eastern pipistrelle (perimyotis subflavus)
- Eastern red bat (lasiurus borealis)
- Evening bar (nycticeius humeralis)
- Hoary bat (lasiurus cinereus)
- Indiana bat (myotis sodalist)
- Little brown myotis (myotis lucifugus)
- Northern long-eared myotis (myotis septentrionalis)
- Silver-haired bat (lasionycteris noctivagans)
Although bats may be beneficial in rural ecosystems, as they consume enormous quantities of bothersome insects, bats may also transmit infections (such as rabies).
What should you do, if you find bats in your barn?
Equestrians, stable staff members and others who find bats on their properties are advised to contact the Wisconsin Bat Program (or the Department of Natural Resources) for removal of the creatures.
Sick or dead bats may still be dangerous. Anyone suffering from a bat bite or scratch will need to contact the local health department to report the incident, to have the bat examined for rabies and other infections and to seek medical treatment.
For more information, please contact the Wisconsin Bat Program by phone (608-266-5216) or by e-mail: DNRbats@wisconsin.gov