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My Newest Venture: BATS

My NEW Bat House

I went to a bat talk last week, given by Bats Northwest member Barbara Ogaard, and now I REALLY want bats in my garden. I even got a bat house.

Some local bats I can attract are hoary bats, yuma myotis, keen’s myotis, big brown bat, silver-haired bat, little brown bat, california myotis and long-eared myotis. These guys will range from 2-4 inches long with a 9-16 inch wingspan. They’re teeny tiny.

I learned a lot about bats during the talk. Here’s an overview:

  • Bats consume half their body weight in insects each night
  • In the rainforest they pollinate – ensuring we can eat bananas, cashews, dates & figs
  • They are the only flying mammal!
  • Some bats can live up to 30 years!
  • They hibernate every winter and emerge in the spring
  • AND…because people are afraid of bats, they’re in danger and need our help

I also wanted bats because of the guano — a great fertilizer. Why wouldn’t you want to attract something that eats harmful insects and fertilizes the garden? They sound almost as beneficial as my chickens!

How are bats good for my garden?  Our bats eat many insects that normally feed on plants such as moths, flies and beetles. Additionally, their droppings, or “guano” is one of the world’s best fertilizers. Bats are part of a healthy ecosystem. - Bats Northwest

All I need to mount my bat house is a 14′ 4×4 post and some cement – so it should be about 15′ up. It was recommended that I put my bat house in full sun (it’s probably different in other parts of the US/world) and away from predator hangouts. To attract bats it’s recommended that I plant sweet-smelling and night-blooming plants such as phlox, stock, flowering tobacco and/or spearmint.

I plan on putting my bat house in the left corner of my front garden where the bird bath is sitting – right in the middle of my phlox patch! I need to get it up soon since the male bats will get kicked out of the maternity colony soon and need a bachelor pad.

Bat house will be where the bird bath is located in the far right.

For more information on bats, you can check out the Bats NW FAQ page or search for an organization near you dedicated to protecting bats and educating humans. I got most of my information for this post from the talk I attended and the fliers created by Bats Northwest.

Oh, and in case you’re worried about rabies, there’s a lot of information online and it’s not as bad as you may think. I’ll make sure my pets are current with their vaccinations and I’ll simply avoid touching the bats — because they are wild animals!

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9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you — I always loved bats — I live in New Mexico and will research how to attract them to my garden here!

    March 31, 2012
    • Good luck!! I hope I’m successful – let me know how it works for you.

      April 1, 2012
  2. I had no idea there were so many kinds around here. I hope you get some to move in and I can’t wait to learn more about them. One summer a few years ago in the evening I swore I saw a bat fly through our yard.

    March 31, 2012
    • I bet you did! You’ve got some big trees close by – I bet they live there? Plus, I bet they drink out of your pond. I’m excited.

      April 1, 2012
  3. Rabies is what turned my hubby off to the idea. I didn’t have the information to make a viable argument. I think bats are a great idea though and so valuable. I didn’t know there were so many types though. Very interesting. Thanks for the info. Keep us posted.

    April 3, 2012
  4. We love bats too! We frequently hear them chirping at night while they soar above us eating all the pesky bugs. Now I feel the need to get a bat house too! Did you buy or make yours?

    April 4, 2012
    • Check out our website if you need a Bat House

      April 11, 2012
  5. Hi Jennifer
    When you install your Bat House make sure you install it at a minimum of 12 foot height above the ground. The higher the better. Also make sure it faces south / southeast so it gets 4 to 8 Hrs. of full sun. Bats need heat in their house.

    April 11, 2012
  6. annabanana #

    Rabies are not an issue with bats. That is part of the unfortunate misinformation.

    May 23, 2012

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