Biology and Behavior
In Rhode Island there are approximately 8 species of bats: The big brown bat, silver-haired bat, eastern red bat, hoary bat, eastern small footed myotis, little brown myotis, northern myotis, Indiana myotis and the eastern pipistrelle.
The most common bat in Rhode Island is the big brown bat. The Big brown bat is a relatively large, robust bat with a broad nose and fur that ranges in color from light rust to dark brown. Big brown bats are commonly found in houses and other buildings. Small beetles are their most frequent prey yet big brown bats will consume large amounts of night flying insects, including mosquitoes.
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. The big brown bat can live up to 30 years.
Two diseases can be transmitted to humans from bats Rabies and Histoplasmosis. Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system. Anyone bitten by a bat should immediately obtain a post-exposure treatment. Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease caused by fungus that grows in warm humid conditions around bat droppings. Avoid breathing the dust around droppings.
If droppings are present and there are no obvious openings. Bats sometimes roost on porches or under eaves briefly during the night while they digest the insects that they have eaten.
To survive the winter some bats migrate, others hibernate, and yet others go into tupor (regulated hypothermia that can last from a few hours to a few months).
Bats can enter a home from a gap 1/4” x 1 ½” or a hole 5/8” x 7/8”. In the warmer months a bat may crawl from an overly hot attic through the walls and end up in the living quarters of the house.
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