Rehabilitation of local wildlife goes to ‘bats’ for bats

Strathroy, Ont. The area’s wildlife rehabilitation center works around the clock to make sure bats in need are taken care of.

There is a dedicated team of volunteers who work with the Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center called the Bat Squad. Their job is to help nocturnal creatures, which are often misunderstood when they are injured and need care.

“It seems that over the years we have had more and more bats coming into Salthaven, so we decided to create a branch of the work we do, entirely dedicated to local bats,” said Brian Salt, Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation in Salthaven. .

Ontario is home to eight species of bats, four of which are endangered. These include the great brown bat, the eastern red bat, the grizzly bat, and the silver-haired bat. Canada’s endangered bat species include the tricolor bat, the small brown bat, the eastern small-footed bat and the long-eared muscular bat.

according to BMC . Biology JournalBetween habitat loss and disease, the number of bats in Canada has been on a declining trend. A fungal disease known as white nose syndrome has caused unprecedented declines. Another risk factor for bat population declines is pollution and hazardous materials such as artificial cobwebs that are commonly used for Halloween decorations.

“We try to educate the public through our educational programs about the value of bats and who they really are,” Salt said. “They are smart little creatures.” “It’s important to understand that if you’re going to pick up a bat, or stash it, it will look as vicious as possible because it’s afraid, but when they get to know you, they can be completely controllable.”

Bats usually get a bad reputation, Salt says, but their contributions to our ecosystems and agriculture outweigh any concerns people have about them.

“Once you get to know them, they’re not really bad little guys,” Salt said. “It’s a little annoying, but this tension about bats, I think, comes from two different areas.”

Salt thinks the combination of bat appearances in Hollywood movies and popular culture is a major cause of concern, but it still comes second to more realistic concerns.

“Then, the second thing, you know, rabies scares him,” he said. “But in reality, very few bats in the wild are infected with rabies. Maybe one or two percent at most.”

Only 2 to 3 percent of all bats tested tested positive for rabies, according to Salthaven. Favorite

Blessings in disguise

According to Salt, bats do wonders for farmers.

“It’s incredible in the environment,” he said. “It eliminates insect populations, and saves farmers billions of dollars each year in this procedure alone.” “Some of the bats, not so many here in Ontario, but in the south, are actually pollinators, and they help out in this way as well.”

Regarding bat population decline, Salt says there are simple ways the average individual can ensure they don’t make the problem worse. He recommends, in the case of unwanted bats making their way into homes, that homeowners should be gentle in catching and releasing the bats. In the cooler months when the bats are expected to go into hibernation, Salt says, they can be brought to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

“The other thing that people can do for bats is they can build bat houses, and you can get all kinds of plans and instructions to do it right on the Internet,” Salt said.

Bat houses can provide safe and warm environments for bats to nest.

However, Salt warns that there are risks associated with handling wild animals, and this should never be done if one can avoid them. If you are bitten by a bat, it is important to contact your doctor immediately.

If you find a bat inside or outside, Contact Salthaven for advice.

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