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A Male Bat Hanging in a Tree



07.15.2008 - Whenever I remove bats from a home or building, I inform the person with the problem that their bats are all female bats, known as a maternity colony. When bats gather in a large group, it's for the purpose of forming a safe haven to give birth to and raise young bats. The exact time of birth and weaning depends on species and latitude, but in North America, it's always in the summer. Female bats only give birth once per year, and again depending on species, often to only one pup. So after I tell the person this, I hear the inevitable follow-up, "where do the males go?". Despite all of the wildlife research out there, the matter does not appear to be fully understood well. Perhaps it's hard to sex and track a bat over a long period of time. The answer seems fairly obvious though - if they're not in the all-female maternity group, but they're still out and about, they must go somewhere, and since they like to hide in tall, covered places, it appears that they probably go into trees a lot.

Male bats live a solitary life, roosting in any convenient place that suits them. On occasion, I get a call from someone who has found a solitary bat roosting for the day. Interestingly, they seem to like the folds of a large patio umbrella. Then when the homeowner opens the umbrella, they get a surprise that drives them just plain batty. Then they call me, and I say, "just leave it alone, for Pete's sake, it's not going to hurt anyone!" I also think they like to go behind shutters, because I've found them behind shutters. So there you have it, my research indicates that male bats make their daytime roost in trees, folded up umbrellas, and shutters.

The above photo features a male bat in a tree. Granted, I took it during the night time, when it should be out flying, and granted, it's hanging about when most roosting bats are squished as deep as they can get inside a crevice, but I was most certainly able to identify it as a male, and I don't deal with male bats very often. Like mosquitoes, the fellows aren't the ones causing the problems. True true, it's all because of the responsibility of the female to take care of the minor detail of giving birth, but still, one can't ignore the fact that females are a pain in the butt in general. I see these maternity colonies of bats in homes, and it's like one big girl's slumber party, the bats doing the things most ladies do - chattering away, grooming themselves, bickering, pooping all over the place indiscriminately, and so on. The guys as usual are shunned, forced to hang around in some batchelor, I mean bachelor, pad all day.

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