All about the Pallid Bat
The Pallid bat is considered a pest when it enters homes or other structures. Roosts of the bat can be very destructive to architecture and its guano and urine spread harmful bacteria. Although an important part of natural ecosystems, if found indoors or near a human-inhabited structure exclusion methods should be employed immediately.
What does a Pallid Bat look like?
The Pallid bat is named for its pale-colored fur. It is yellowish brown to cream colored on its back with white fur on its underside. The most distinguishing feature of the Pallid Bat is its large ears. Larger than most species of bats, the naked ears of the Pallid bat are almost half as long as the length of its head and body combined. The eyes of the Pallid bat are also larger than most other North American bats.
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Where does the Pallid Bat live, and what does it eat?
The Pallid Bat is found in arid and semi-arid regions across western Canada, U.S., and Mexico.
The favorite daytime, nighttime, and maternity roosts of the Pallid Bat are in arid climates ranging from rocky outcroppings to sparsely vegetated grasslands. A water source is also essential. The day roost of the Pallid bat is a warm location with a horizontal opening like an attic, shutter, or other small crevice. At night the bat prefers a more open roost with foliage nearby, making night foraging more efficient. The Pallid bat typically hibernates in old buildings, caves, or cracks in rocks.
The Pallid bat is known for its habit of feeding almost entirely from the ground; a habit unique among other bat species. For this reason, it feeds mostly on ground-dwelling insects like grasshoppers, scorpions (the Pallid bat is immune to the sting of a scorpion), beetles, and crickets. Using echolocation and its enormous ears, the Pallid bat can detect the footstep of an insect from up to 16 feet away with split-second accuracy. After capturing an insect in its mouth, the Pallid bat carries it to a perch and consumes it there.
The Pallid Bat’s Circle of Life
Mating takes place in the fall with fertilization in the spring. Pallid bat babies are most commonly born two at a time (twins) and will be fully independent by the time they’re two months old. Mother Pallid bats take up residence in maternity or nursery roosts until their young are weaned. Compared to other bat species, the maternity roost of the Pallid bat is small, containing only 20-100 mothers and pups. Predators of the Pallid bat include coyotes, frogs, raccoons, snakes, and cats. The Pallid bat can live up to 10 years in the wild.
Pallid Bat and Humans
Because of its tendency to fly close to the ground while feeding, the Pallid bat will occasionally fly by humans, but it is by no means a common occurrence. Bats tend to stay away from us, but sometimes roost in structures inhabited by humans. A natural means of pest control, roosts of Pallid bats have been known to eat thousands of pounds of insects in a single night.
Bat guano is a major source of natural fertilizer and plays an important part in ecosystems by adding nutrients to the soil. The guano and urine of a bat, however, can spread dangerous diseases when found indoors. Bat guano sometimes contains bacteria harmful to humans. Because bats are not typically welcome to roost in our attics or ceilings, if found in your home measures should be employed to remove them.
Professional Pallid Bat Control
- Locate the roost and all entrances, then seal them off: A professional will observe the potential roosting sight at night while bats are active, then keep note of any entry points for the bat. They will then seal the cracks, gaps, or holes in the roof or exterior walls with netting, lumber, or urethane foam depending on the size of the opening.
- Removal of the Pallid Roost: Exclusion of bats is not typically done while female bats are caring for their young. Eliminating the mother could cause young bats to die, which creates a cleanup problem later on. For this reason, exclusion is usually done in the summer or early fall. Exclusion is typically done by installing one or more vents to round up the bats and direct them away from structures.
- Clean up after yourself! If you read that in the voice of your mother, you’re not alone. This could very well be said to the bats roosting in your home or other structure because they are not tidy animals. There will most likely be a great deal of fecal matter left behind by the roost. A professional will often clean up the leftovers as part of their service.
DIY and Green Solutions for Pallid Bat Control
Any time you come in contact with a bat or bat roost, be sure to exhibit appropriate caution. Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and a mask. Although risk of rabies transmitted through bats is low, there’s no reason to take a chance. If you’re new to bat roosts and the removal thereof, call a professional.
- Star Party: Multi-task a little – get out at night and do some star gazing while you watch your house for the mass of bats sure to leave for feeding time. Keeping your eye out for all entry points is the key to getting rid of a Pallid roost. Once you’ve identified all entrances, seal them up.
- Bat valves: All entrances but one (used for the bat valve) should be sealed tight. This will allow bats to get out, but not to come back in. Bat valves are easy to install and can be purchased at a home improvement store.
- Install a bat house: It may seem counter-intuitive to give the bats a new place to stay, kind of like feeding a stray cat; they never leave. However, bats are a great part of any garden – they are sure to feed on many garden-devastating bugs which is good news for your tomatoes!