The Art of Darkness

Build a Bat House

June 17th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Bat HouseShadow Manor is blessed with a small bat colony, and one of my favorite summer activities is sitting outside at twilight and watching bats flit overhead.

As bats lose their natural habitat to development, it’s important to provide them with alternate roosting spaces. If you’ve got any patch of greenery near your home there might be bats closer than you think, so why not build a house to encourage them?

The basic design is pretty straightforward; it’s really just a wooden box with some interior partitions. There’s a great tutorial for building a bat house at The National Wildlife Federation. Free plans are also available at Scott’s Bat House Page and The Organization for Bat Conservation, and Googling “bat houses” will turn up dozens more.

If you’d rather buy than build, most birding supply stores and some large hardware chain stores carry ready-made houses. They’re also available many places online; Bird Sanctum has some nice basic models that aren’t too expensive, and the Backyard Bird Company has some fanciful designs that include a Bat Castle and Victorian Bat House.

Bat Conservation International has some information on the criteria for a successful bat house, as well as suggestions for attracting bats, and Bat World lists some frequently-asked questions about bat houses and offers tips for proper siting.

Some people may be reticent to invite bats into their lives due to fear of rabies. This is an unfortunate misconception; in reality you’re more likely to get rabies from a cow than from a bat. As the CDC points out, the disease is only transmitted via a bite or through infected material (such as saliva) getting into your eyes, nose, mouth, or an open wound. Don’t handle the bats (don’t handle any other wild animal you might run across, either), teach your kids to do the same, and you’ll be fine.

Build a house, put it up, and soon you too might have the opportunity to spy the little night mice flitting happily overhead.

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Unhallowed Ground | 3 Comments »