Over the past few years in August, I have noticed what seems to be an increase in the number of little brown bats in and around Rimbey. One was in my house two summers ago, two or three at my office and now fast track to the same time this year. I had five at my office front door last week. As I tried to get into my office I quietly went to open the door and a bat took flight, jolting myself into the main street of Rimbey. Funny enough it was in front of a town public works employee who politely pulled over in his truck to see what all the fuss was about as I was pointing to my front door.
And as much as I wanted to get into my office, there was nothing I could do, but leave them all alone and inch around through the door.
We are more afraid of them than they are of us.
Now after calling Fish and Game to see what could be done, here is what I learned about their legal status.
Little brown and northern myotis bats of Alberta are listed as Endangered.
Due to White-Nose Syndrome discovered last year in August, which is caused by a fungus that grows in caves where bats hibernate, almost 90 percent of infected bats die.
Crazy to read that laws for bats are so similar to humans. It is illegal to enter caves where bats reside and hibernate, alter or destroy their home at any time of the year.
A bat’s roost cannot be altered from June 1 to Sept. 1, and it is illegal to disturb and destroy a roost while female bats are raising their pups. One can only imagine a mother bat out foraging for food while her pup is inside a roost, to come home to her home plugged with her baby inside. Bats roost from June 1 to Sept 1 raising their pups until they can fly to their winter hibernation, only in the fall after they have left is when the roost can be modified.
Sadly it is illegal to kill or harm any kind of bat in Alberta.
That being said there are many options for capture and release should one be in your home, and there are resources available regarding bats via the Government of Alberta at https://www.alberta.ca/human-wildlife-conflict.
Get a bat house and put one up outside in a tree. Bats are a major part of our ecosystem who happily dine on mosquitoes.
And who loves a ton of mosquitoes? No one.
*Information care of Bats in Alberta June 2023 Government of Alberta