Skidaway Island is home to approximately 9 different species of bats. The bats that roost on our Island belong to the subgroup listed as microbats because of their size and weight. This group of bats consume insects and bugs to sustain their diet and use echolocation for their movement, to communicate with each other, and to find their food.
Bats are very clean mammals that groom during the day. Several species of female bats will roost together to birth 1 pup each per year and while there may be as many as 50 - 200 bats in a 3 chamber bat house, each mother knows which pup is hers and she is responsible for the feeding and training of her pup. Pups are not born knowing how to fly, they must be taught by their mother. If the learning cycle is disrupted the pup will die.
Mature male bats are generally singular roosters and they are opportunist in their roosting sites; bats need only a 3/4” opening to enter a space to shelter. While dead trees are great places to roost so are attics and walls of homes as bats love confined spaces. They are warm blooded mammals who prefer their roosting sites to have a full sun orientation with ventilation then they pack themselves into the tight roosting space.
Bats generate a small amount of excrement that looks like brown specks on home siding and driveways but as the colony grows so does the amount of excrement (known as guano) and it smells bad! Guano is a great fertilizer which is farmed from caves where huge numbers of bats roost. Guano is sold as a coveted natural product that improves the texture of the soil and can improve composting. It is sold both retail and on the internet at a cost between $3.00 and $15.00 per pound. The effects can last for years in the garden.
Bats are great for the environment as they consume their body weight in flying insects every evening. In addition to being good for the environment they are fun to watch as they dart through the sky at dusk in their erratic chase for mosquitoes, moths, Japanese beetles, grasshoppers, ants, flies and other flying bugs and insects. This entertainment lasts almost 9 month as we have bats that roost year round on Skidaway Island.