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Les chauves-souris de
notre région

Les chauves-souris sont plus que des petits êtres fascinants, elles contribuent également à régler le cycle de la nature. Parmi les quelque 1000 espèces de chauves-souris, seules trois sont des vampires. Ces grosses chauves-souris buveuses de sang, les vampires, vivent très loin d’ici, en Amérique Central et en Amérique du Sud. Donc, rien à craindre !

Au fait, les chauves-souris trouvées au Nouveau-Brunswick sont insectivores et aident chaque année les fermiers à se débarrasser d’insectes qui rongent leurs cultures. Les chauves-souris contribuent aussi à la pollinisation des plantes et à semer la forêt. Les chauves-souris ont peur de l’homme ; elles ne l’attaquent donc jamais.

Une petite précaution doit cependant être prise à l’égard des chauves-souris. Il faut éviter de les manipuler avec les mains. Les chauves-souris peuvent être infectées de la rage, qu’elle peuvent transmettre via leur salive. Elles sont cependant bien moins à craindre que les chiens enragés.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BATS

Jane Tarn,
Executive Director, The Kindness Club
November 1998

 

b.gif (429 bytes)ats are wonderful creatures that are our allies and help to keep nature in balance. There are nearly 1,000 species of bats in the world, of which only three species are vampires. All the vampires live in Central, South and Latin America, so relax! The species of bats found in New Brunswick are insectivorous, which means they eat insects. We can thank them for fewer mosquitos and for saving farmers millions of dollars a year by eating crop pests.

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Big Brown Bat
(Eptesicus fuscus)  in flight with moth
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(Photo: Batcon.org)

Some species of bats living in warmer climates help nature by pollinating plants, by eating overripe fruit, and by dropping the fruit seeds as they fly along, thus helping to reforest areas. The plants on which Cashew nuts, walnuts, avocados, figs and allspice berries are produced depend on bats to pollinate their flowers or disperse their seeds. If you enjoy gum, thank bats! It may contain chicle latex, a plant material produced by bat-pollinated flowers.

While bats are fascinating creatures, remember that they are wild animals. Respect them and leave them alone. Never try to catch a bat with your bare hands nor pick up a downed bat without gloves on. Teach children to respect and understand bats, but warn them to leave bats alone - even dead ones. Tell them to inform an adult if they find a bat. While bats do not ‘carry’ rabies, they can be infected with the rabies virus and can pass it along through their saliva. People have feared bats for generations but you are more likely to die from a dog bite, food poisoning from eating picnic food, injuries due to playground equipment or from participating in sports than from a bat bite. Bats do not attack people but may bite if handled. Bats are not blind and they will not get caught in your hair. Nevertheless, they will certainly skim over your head if there is an insect hovering there they might enjoy eating.

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(Bitmap: Dover Book)

If a bat flies into a room where you are, remain calm. It is probably just a young bat that is lost. Help it find its way out by opening all windows and doors leading outside and closing doors to other areas of the house. Leave the lights on and then leave the room. If the bat does not leave and stays on a wall or a curtain, put a plastic container over the bat. Gently slide a piece of cardboard under the bat until it is in the container. With the cardboard on top, the container can be taken outside and the bat safely released. It is recommended by the Center for Disease Control, that the only time you should kill a bat is when one is found in a room with a baby or an infirm person who cannot tell you what has happened. Then, for health reasons, you should have the bat examined by a pathologist to determine whether or not it is rabid.

A group of female bats may move into an attic in the spring to set up a nursery. There, each mother bat will usually have one baby. In the fall, most New Brunswick bats head for caves to hibernate for the winter while some species migrate south. Some bats may overwinter in an attic. While you may not want bats there, there are humane ways to get them to leave. First of all, have patience and wait until the babies are grown and the mothers are ready to leave at the end of July or mid August before you start to take action. Call in a person who has experience with getting bats to move out of attics through humane methods.

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(picture: NBEN-RENB)

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"Many people have put up bat houses to attract bats to their properties."
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Many people have put up bat houses to attract bats to their properties. They know that bats are nature’s natural bug busters! Research continues to investigate the best way to encourage bats to use a bat house. From the studies done by Bat Conservation International, it has been learned that bats in northern climates prefer black bat houses and those in hotter climates prefer light coloured houses. If you plan to put up a bat house, make sure you do not have any toddlers around who may pick up a sick or dead bat if one should be on the ground. In northern climates, all bat houses should be painted black (matte latex paint) on the outside only. They should be placed at least 10 feet off the ground, in a sunny location facing south. If you plan to build your own bat house, do not use any chemically treated wood.

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(Bitmap: Dover Book)

Good books to help you identify bat species and learn about them are:

Golden Guide - Bats of the World by Gary L. Graham. 1994. Very useful guide to over 100 common species.

America s Neighborhood Bats by Merlin D. Tuttle 1997. This is an excellent introduction to bats, the value of bats and the need to conserve them. Health concerns are also discussed.

There are many books about bats for all ages so check in your library and bookstore. If you are really keen to watch bats, there is a new release, The Vacationer s Guide to Bat Watching, which lists the best places in Canada and the United States to view both captive and wild bats, along with general bat-watching information. It is available from Bat Conservation International.

If you plan on being in Toronto anytime before January 17, 1999 be sure to visit the Ontario Science Centre to see "Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats" - a 6,000 square foot exhibit! For a free place mat with an "alpha-bat" for children to complete along with bat information and pet care information, contact the Kindness Club. If you are a teacher in New Brunswick, contact the Kindness Club ( for a list of educational videos and books you may borrow. A new 1998 Educational package, Discover Bats, and "Bat Chat", a tape serving as an introduction to echolocation, are also available.

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(Bitmap: Dover Book)

Keen on knowing more about bats?
Visit the following web sites:

Bat Conservation International - www.batcon.org

Rabies in bats - www.batcon.org/rabies.html

An excellent site for children: http://members.aol.com/bats4kids/ 

A reading list of bat books and articles for everyone http://www.batcon.org/fofrr.html

The Bat Conservation Trust (United Kingdom)
http://www.bats.org.uk/

To learn about the Bat House Program in North America contact Mark Kiser at www.batcon.org

Jane Tarn is also a member of:
Fredericton Area Network

Member of Bat Conservation International (BCI)
Former Teacher,  Naturalist